27 May Changes for Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans in Light of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
On November 6, 2021, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal) (the “Act”). The Act made changes to the requirements for Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans. The most significant change is the additional requirement for a Safety Committee (the “Committee”) to be included as a part of the transit system’s Agency Safety Plan.
The Committee must consist of an equal number of frontline employee representatives and management representatives. The Committee is responsible for 1) identifying and recommending risk-based mitigations or strategies necessary to reduce the likelihood and severity of consequences identified through the agency’s safety risk assessment; 2) identifying mitigations or strategies that may be ineffective, inappropriate, or were not implemented; and 3) identifying safety deficiencies for purposes of continuous improvement. The Committee must be established by July 31, 2022.
The Agency Safety Plan must also be drafted or updated to include “strategies to minimize the exposure of the public, personnel, and property to hazards and unsafe conditions, and consistent with guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or a State health authority, minimize exposure to infectious diseases.”
The Act also requires that Agency Safety Plans include a “risk reduction program” that addresses the following issues facing the transit industry:
“(i) a reduction of vehicular and pedestrian accidents involving buses that includes measures to reduce visibility impairments for bus operators that contribute to accidents, including retrofits to buses in revenue service and specifications for future procurements that reduce visibility impairments; and (ii) the mitigation of assaults on transit workers, including the deployment of assault mitigation infrastructure and technology on buses, including barriers to restrict the unwanted entry of individuals and objects into the workstations of bus operators when a risk analysis performed by the safety committee of the recipient established under paragraph (5) determines that such barriers or other measures would reduce assaults on transit workers and injuries to transit workers.”
The Agency Safety Plan is also required to include a “comprehensive staff training program for…the operations and maintenance personnel and personnel directly responsible for safety of the recipient that include…de-escalation training.” These required updates to the Agency Safety Plan must be made by December 31, 2022.
The abovementioned changes to the Act provide an opportunity for transit systems to reevaluate their Agency Safety Plans and reaffirm a commitment to safety.
 The Act makes changes to Agency Safety Plans for public transportation entities of all sizes, but this article discusses the changes for transit agencies in “large, urbanized areas” with a population of 200,000 or more.
 49 U.S.C.S. § 5329(d)(5)
 49 U.S.C.S. § 5329(d)(1)(D)
 49 U.S.C.S. § 5329(d)(1)(I)
 49 U.S.C.S. § 5329(d)(1)(H)
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