Durbin: Feds taking steps to ensure Metra safety

August 13, 2013 (CHICAGO)

According to a letter sent to Durbin by FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo, the FRA will also exercise its oversight authority by increasing the number of operation inspections on Metra trains.

"The FRA's quick response shows that safety is and will remain the highest priority at Metra," said Durbin. "I thank Administrator Szabo for his quick response to my request."

On August 6, Durbin's office said a letter was sent to Szabo asking him to increase oversight.

Durbin's call for help came after a fourth Metra board member resigned in the wake of a scandal tied to the awarding of a $718,000 severance package to the rail agency's former CEO, Alex Clifford.

Durbin says the FRA Region 4 Regional Administrator will hold weekly face-to-face meetings with the Metra deputy executive director/chief operations officer to review any safety issues revealed through FRA inspections or communication with Metra labor organizations. The weekly meeting will also allow discussion of any operational issues that may affect Metra or other railroads in the Chicago area. The administrator will also will participate in bi-monthly Chicago Operating Rules Association meetings and with the Metra senior rules director to review operational and safety rules that impact Metra and other railroads in the Chicago area.

Durbin says FRA representatives will also attend and participate in monthly Labor-Management Safety meetings. The meetings include Metra employees in the engineering, mechanical and transportation departments and their managers.

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