Friday, March 20, 2009

Canceling the March 28 celebration

We received some more disappointing news today, and in the interests of safety, Capital Metro has decided to cancel the community celebration next Saturday, March 28.

Here's the statement from President/CEO Fred Gilliam today:

“Capital Metro received notification today from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) of additional alleged violations against rail contractor Veolia Transportation. This is an addition to the previous violations we learned about last Friday.

At this time, I am not satisfied with the progress Veolia has made with safety and training. Capital Metro is absolutely committed to safety. Following extensive discussions with Veolia, the FRA, TxDOT as well as Capital MetroRail staff, I have just notified our Board of Directors that I am taking the following steps:

The MetroRail celebration event planned for Saturday, March 28 is cancelled.

Capital Metro has called for Veolia to replace its safety director.

Capital Metro is bringing in rail experts from Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to assist with startup operations and safety implementation. They have experience with thirteen previous rail launches.

Capital MetroRail staff will continue testing enhancements to the signal system.

By May 15, Capital Metro will report back to the community with the status of the project and an action plan.

Capital Metro is deeply disappointed over this delay, but under no circumstances will we jeopardize safety by rushing this process.”