Delegation Introduces Final Measure to Authorize Dedicated Metro Funding Resolution is Last Step in Establishing Federal and Local Commitment Over Ten Years
WASHINGTON, DC – The Members of the Washington Metro Area’s Senate and House Delegation – Senators Benjamin L. Cardin, Barbara A. Mikulski, Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner, and Reps. Steny H. Hoyer, Frank R. Wolf, James P. Moran, Eleanor Holmes-Norton, Chris Van Hollen, Donna F. Edwards and Gerald E. Connolly - introduced a resolution today to ratify the amended interstate WMATA Regulation Compact in accordance with legislation enacted last year authorizing $1.5 billion in federal Metro funding over ten years.
The measure, which follows a formal request submitted last week by the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, is the final step required in the authorization process and will obligate the three jurisdictions to provide matching funds for federal appropriations.
“The Washington Metro Area Delegation has long recognized the need to provide Metro with a dedicated funding stream to ensure the safety and efficiency of a system that serves millions of residents and visitors. Given the fact that Metro is the primary public transit system serving our federal workforce, as well as the millions of visitors to our Nation’s Capital each year, we believe the federal government must be a partner in providing that investment.
“We succeeded last year in establishing that commitment with legislation authorizing $1.5 billion in federal funding over ten years to be matched by the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. That legislation required the local jurisdictions to amend the WMATA Regulation Compact to reflect the dedicated funding requirement, establish an Office of Inspector General, and provide for Federal representation on the WMATA Board. The three jurisdictions fulfilled this obligation and last week formally requested Congressional approval of the amended compact - the final step in the authorization process.
“In light of Monday’s tragic accident, we believe that this funding is even more critical to provide for the safety of our citizens. We look forward to quick consideration of our resolution in the House and Senate, and will continue to fight for approval of our request for $150 million in federal funds for Metro for Fiscal Year 2010.”
Together, the region’s delegation has requested $150 million in federal funding this year for capital and preventive maintenance projects for the maintenance and upkeep of Metro. In addition, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act approved by Congress and signed by President Obama in February included $200 million to meet Metro needs in operations systems, IT, maintenance and repair equipment, passenger and maintenance facilities, safety and security, and vehicle servicing.
The authorization for dedicated Metro funding was included in the Rail Safety Improvement Act (H.R. 2095), which was passed last fall and signed into law by President Bush.
As somebody who frequently rides the Metro, I recognized several years ago that Metro needed a dedicated funding stream. Metro carries millions of passengers, including federal employees, employees of private industry, and tourists. Usually it does so safely, efficiently, and relatively comfortably. When I first moved to DC 18 years ago, local residents pointed to the Metro system with pride. It was clean, quick, and safe transportation that was affordable.
The system is now aging. Repairs are needed. But it is still a system worth being proud of. But yesterday's terrible tragedy has shown us just how much we need this system to work properly and safely. Kudos to our Senate and House delegations for stepping up to the plate in a bipartisan effort to benefit our entire community and the tourists who visit us.