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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Delegation Introduces Measure to Authorize Dedicated Metro Funding

I just received this press release from Congressman Gerry Connolly's office:
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.


Anonymous said...

Karen I am a republican that has a few comments for you. You say it took GWB 8 years to destroy the economy right? Well we can also argue that the Clinton years set the economy into a free fall with the passing of NAFTA and putting pressure on banks to make home loans to people that could not afford them. With that said i agree with you on Gilmore he was a failure i think we can agree thats why he performed so poorly in the past election alot of Republicans crossed the line to vote for the better candidate.I also think you will see that happen again in the upcoming election with alot of Democrats crossing the line for Bill Bolling don't get excited thats just my opinion i could be wrong. I just feel we are entering into a new era where voters are not just voting party lines. However the past two Governors have been Democrats and if it took GWB 8 years to destroy the economy why haven't they fixed it in the past 8 years they ran on the promise they would. We really need to quit the blame GWB game and start making smart decisions for the best of everyone. The stimulus package has not helped the economy the way Obama said it would either but we can argue those points or we can go to work getting jobs in VA that we need so bad,not jobs that will last for a year or two but long lasting jobs that people can retire from if we can do that it will fix the economy. Who cares who gets the credit for it the the American people will all benefit from it i bet they won't care if it was a Republican or Democrat that fixes it as long as they have a job. Thanks again from the anon. that really respects you.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Thank you, Anon, for respecting me, as I do you. Even when we disagree, you are civil and raise valid points.

First of all, I happen to agree with you about Clinton and NAFTA. I always thought it did more harm than good for the American worker. It's true that some of Clinton's free trade policies, in retrospect, contributed to the economic problems we are experiencing.

But Bush accelerated them. He was more aggressively anti-regulatory than Clinton was, although both bought into the myth that markets were smart and rational. A lot of very good economists are now questioning that assumption (including Clinton's former Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers).

Because this is only a comment section, I won't go into too much detail, but while free markets are mostly good, we ascribed to them mythic traits that weren't true. We need the right proportion of regulation - not so much that we kill the market incentive, but enough so that average people are not hurt by how random it truly is.

As for why Obama or Kaine haven't fixed it yet, it's because the economy is not instant soup. It takes far more than five minutes, or five months, to repair the damage. Some of the early, leading indicators are showing some improvement. Most people won't notice it until much later, though.

Employment, however, is a lagging indicator. That's because companies won't start hiring until they have much more confidence, and much more evidence, that the economy has turned around. Hiring new people will be the very last thing they do, and that's when we will know that things have truly recovered.

The first signs of recovery are a gradually improving stock market, an increase in orders for large, durable goods, and an uptick in consumer confidence. We are seeing modest signs of all three of these indicators. But the mortgage and housing industry are still a drag on the economy. So is banking.

It's difficult to fix things quickly precisely because it's not a centralized economy and leaders cannot order it to improve. But the stimulus is helping to get liquidity back into the markets. Hopefully, it will also spark some job growth.

I hope that provides something of an answer to you. As for people voting for the person rather than just the party, I think that's true. We have sophisticated voters who split votes now more than they ever have.

But the two parties do have real differences in their approaches to solving problems. People have real choices and that is not a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I agree with you 100% (man that feels weird me being a very outspoken Republican agreeing with a Democrat)but you are right. Rome was not built in a day. That was one of the main reasons i was so opposed to the stimulus package i didn't feel it was going to be able to create jobs and slow unemployment the way the Democrats thought it would. I felt a better way to have spent the money would have been to make big tax incentives to companies to bring jobs back to the USA but making sure when the tax incentives ran out they couldn't just pick right up and leave again, which is what happens so often in small towns.Clinton passed NAFTA and i fussed for the past 8 years because GWB would not get rid of it or atleast change it.Karen you hit the nail on the head about employment we are not going to see alot of hiring until buisness owners know for sure things have picked up for good.Thank you that was the best, most truthful and respectful response i have ever gotten from a Democrat my hats is off to you.