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MTA Announces New Safety Committee, Metro-North Safety Officer

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has laid out new safety efforts for Metro-North Railroad in the wake of a number of incidents in recent months.

As WCBS 880's Paul Murnane reported, the MTA announced it will split a single safety and security position at Metro-North into two separate executive-level positions.

In addition, there will be an MTA board-level safety committee.

MTA Announces New Safety Committee, Metro-North Safety Officer

MTA chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast said changing executive structure ensures that safety remains a "dedicated agency value."

The move comes after Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal met separately last week with Prendergast and the new Metro-North chief, Joseph Giulietti.

"It is not the on-time performance that they should expect and that they have been used to in the past. But number two, I can't make the on-time performance be the most critical, I have to, one, say that the safety is number one," Giulietti said Monday.

Giulietti said he'll leave comments about the railroad's past safety posture to federal agencies like the NTSB.

"This step is in the right direction. The real question is whether this new position will be a figurehead or a real change agent. What's needed is for this position - safety officer - to have real power to change the culture as well as procedures and policies top to bottom so that there is a new priority to both safety and reliability," Blumenthal told WCBS 880 on Monday.

The senator added it should not have taken a fatal derailment to spur the agency to create a safety officer.

"Why it wasn't done months or years ago, riders have a right to question. But now is the time for these very specific results and, longer term, improving the track and other equipment," said Blumenthal.

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