WMATA recently put out a video summarizing its capital spending— the $3.7 billion it spent on actual materials like train tracks and buses— from 2011-2015. Check it out:

Andrew Off, Metro’s assistant general manager for track infrastructure, gave a quick rundown of some of the major things his agency did with the money, which totaled about $5 billion and came from local jurisdictions and the federal government. That included:

  • Repairing the platforms at nine Red Line stations
  • Installing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant platform tiles at 14 stations
  • Refurbish/repair 13 power substations used to move trains
  • Repair 148 escalators, and replace 27 others
  • Purchase and start delivery of 748 7000-series rail cars
  • Replace 337,234 feet of rail used by trains (out of 2,985,698 feet total)
  • 60 minor and 60 major station rehabs to provide better lighting, repairing platforms, etc.
  • Upgrade track equipment and parts as per NTSB recommendations

In a write-up presented to the Board of Directors in January, WMATA also noted some issues with how the capital improvement program was handled.

One of the issues noted was “insufficient management controls” — in other words, making sure WMATA had enough information to start a project with so it would be able to know if it stayed on schedule, completed everything that was required of it, and stayed on time and budget.

Because of the issues encountered during the five years of the program, about 26% went unused.

The agency now hopes to get a one-year extension of the 2011-2015 program funded through next June. The longer, multi-year program to follow would include Loudoun County in Virginia as well due to the new Silver Line stations. Look for public hearings about the 2016-2022 capital improvement program later in February.

Stephen Repetski is a Virginia native and has lived in the Fairfax area for over 20 years. He has a BS in Applied Networking and Systems Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology and works in Information Technology. Learning about, discussing, and analyzing transit (especially planes and trains) is a hobby he enjoys.