SFMTA upgrades will end safety squabble

SF Examiner file photo

More than a year after engaging in a war of words, the California Public Utilities Commission and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency have reached a tentative agreement about The City’s train operations.

In February 2011, the CPUC, a state regulatory body, accused the SFMTA of engaging in unsafe rail operations, even threatening the agency with fines of $20,000 a day. The CPUC opened an investigation, which found that the SFMTA had an aging rail infrastructure, no functioning train control system and was unresponsive toward past accidents. The SFMTA strongly denounced those claims, and for the past year both agencies have been engaged in legal negotiations over the matter.

On Friday, the two sides announced that a tentative resolution had been reached. The SFMTA did not admit to any of the allegations in the CPUC investigation, but it did agree to upgrade aging trackways, replace a communications cable and improve communications with the state regulators.

“Our staff is fully committed to working for the people of San Francisco and with the staff of the CPUC to keep our system safe,” SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin said in a statement. “I’m pleased that CPUC staff agrees with us that it is in the best interest of the riding public to spend our limited dollars on improving our aging infrastructure rather than on litigation.”

On Tuesday, the SFMTA’s board of directors will vote on approving the tentative agreement.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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