DC-Area Delegation ‘Deeply Disappointed’ by House Cut of $50 Million in Federal Commitment to Metro in Appropriations Bill
Joint statement from Reps. Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Steny Hoyer (MD-5), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Chris Van Hollen (MD-8), Donna F. Edwards (MD-4), John Sarbanes (MD-3), John Delaney (MD-6), Don Beyer (VA-8), Barbara Comstock (VA-10):
“We are deeply disappointed that the House of Representatives has chosen to cut $50 million from Metro and not fulfill the long-standing federal commitment critical to rider safety improvements. “Reducing this funding breaks the 10-year federal commitment and jeopardizes the successful local, state and federal partnership. Millions of Americans – not just from the DC region, but from across the nation – depend on Metro, which is why Congress and the federal government have a responsibility to the operation, oversight, and safety of the system. “We will work with our House and Senate colleagues to restore this vital funding for Metro safety upgrades as the appropriations process moves forward.”
For the past six years, Congress in a bipartisan fashion has provided $150 million for Metro safety upgrades, as authorized under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008. It is not like traditional transportation funding as the law requires the federal funding to be matched dollar-for-dollar with $50 million each from Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
H.R. 2577, the funding bill for the Department of Transportation under consideration in the House, cuts that amount by $50 million. The regional delegation jointly offered an amendment to restore that funding, but it was ruled out of order during debate on the House floor Wednesday night.
This partnership is funding critical safety improvements throughout the system identified by Metro itself, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Federal Transit Administration following the tragic 2009 Red Line accident and the recent tragedy on the Yellow Line this past January. The most visible improvement is the purchase of new 7000 series railcars with advanced crash-resilient technology to replace the oldest cars in its fleet.