We all know Metro is at a crisis point which has been building for decades. It desperately needs a new dedicated revenue source to keep paying for repairs. It also needs reform at the board, management, and line worker levels to operate more efficiently as an organization and to spend money most effectively.
While momentum seemed to have been building for the Maryland, Virginia, and DC legislatures to finally solve some of these problems in 2018, it's in danger of stalling. At the Wednesday's Council of Governments meeting, regional officials sounded like they're giving up on comprehensive reform in 2018 and punting it to at least 2019.
Any delay means more danger things never get fixed. There's always one more election coming up that people in some jurisdiction might want to wait for. Leaders should have acted 30 years ago, but they didn't, and they need to act now.
A coalition of advocacy, business, and other organizations including the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Federal City Council, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Greater Washington Partnership, and Greater Greater Washington (that's a lot of Greater Washingtons!) put out the following statement asking elected leaders to get off their butts and reform Metro's funding and governance. If you agree, sign on!
Business and nonprofit organizations reject stopgap approach to funding Metro
In response to reporting earlier today about a stopgap spending measure for the Metrorail system, a diverse group of regional stakeholders representing Metro riders, businesses, nonprofits and advocates are calling for more urgent action to transform Metro—immediately.
A one-year funding patch for Metro repairs is short-sighted and does not prioritize the system or a long-term solution. Taking action in the legislative sessions starting in January 2018 is critical. We cannot delay until 2019 when the needs today are so urgent. Failure to address Metro’s funding and governance crisis immediately is not an option.
A temporary stopgap measure is simply not sufficient to support the types of changes necessary to bring Metro—and the regional economy as a whole—into the future effectively. Voters are expecting our elected leaders to stand up and lead. In a recent survey, 70 percent of registered voters from across the region said they would support an increase in public funding to improve the Metrorail system.
Funding alone is not enough to transform Metro into the transit system we need. Comprehensive reform across funding, governance and operations will bring about the greatest benefit to the region and the people who depend on Metro every day. A safe and reliable public transit system will strengthen the region’s economic growth, help make the area more environmentally friendly, and improve the quality of life for our growing population.
We are continuing to work with our elected leaders to make sure Metro continues to power our region’s success for the long term.
Coalition for Smarter Growth
DC Sustainable Transportation
Federal City Council
Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce
Greater Greater Washington
Greater Washington Board of Trade
Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Greater Washington Partnership
Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers
Maryland Center on Economic Policy
Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance
Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance
Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce
Washington Area Bicyclist Association