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D.C. Metro Safety Will Be Placed Under Federal Oversight

The Metro in the nation's capital, was hobbled after an electrical malfunction filled a L'Enfant Metro subway station with smoke on Jan. 13, 2015, killing one woman and sending dozens of people to hospitals. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The Metro in the nation's capital, was hobbled after an electrical malfunction filled a L'Enfant Metro subway station with smoke on Jan. 13, 2015, killing one woman and sending dozens of people to hospitals.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The safety of the Metro in Washington will now be the responsibility of federal authorities.

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said in a letter late Friday that the metro safety will be placed under Federal Transit Administration due to recent accidents, like an incident in January when the metro tunnel filled with smoke, killing one person.

The Washington Post reports:

"Day-to-day operations would continue under the auspices of Metro, but Federal Transit Administration officials could intervene when safety concerns arise. Officials could conduct surprise inspections and issue directives to Metro to immediately address safety problems in the system."

The announcement of the plan comes after Foxx rejected a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board calling for Foxx to grant control of metro safety to the Federal Railroad Administration, another agency under the Department of Transportation.

Per the Post, a spokeswoman for Foxx said he nixed that suggestion saying it "would unnecessarily complicate and delay safety improvements that WMATA workers and riders deserve."