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Safety Bonuses

June 09, 1996

* "Congressional Report Questions MTA Bonuses" (May 30) omits some important facts and fails to emphasize that our rail construction safety program has improved dramatically. During construction of the Red Line's first segment, our accident rate was considered too high. On segment two, with the Federal Transit Administration's blessing, we started a cash-incentive program to motivate contractors to make safety the top priority.

The proof is in the numbers: In segment one, we experienced 2,667 workers' compensation claims; in segment two, which covers almost twice the amount of tunnel construction work so far, the claims have only reached 1,191--a more than 50% drop.

The congressional report notes that "California OSHA generally characterizes the MTA safety record as 'outstanding,' " and states that "the absence of any fatalities over a 10-year period is unique for comparable projects worldwide." The report says, "The MTA program is, in all material aspects, similar to safety incentive programs operated by major transit authorities nationwide."

STANLEY PHERNAMBUCQ

Executive Officer, Construction

MTA

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