WASHINGTON – Today, in a hearing on the reauthorization of funding for our nation’s surface transportation, U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) stressed the importance of continuing the federal government’s investment in the safety and viability of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). In the hearing, Sen. Warner noted WMATA’s role in helping ensure adequate federal government functions. He also highlighted the need for WMATA during national events, as well as the essential role it plays in promoting tourism of our nation’s capital.
“The federal government literally runs on Metro,” said Sen. Warner. “Close to 40 percent of Metro’s riders during rush hour are federal employees and that is critically important to the functioning of our government. WMATA also serves a critically important role in terms of the continuation of government in the event of a disaster. If we ever have to deal with an evacuation similar to what we dealt with post-9/11, the burden falls on Metro.”
He continued, “The local jurisdictions have stepped up, and as I’ve mentioned, the federal government couldn’t function without Metro. The federal government has got to do its share.”
Sen. Warner has introduced the Metro Safety, Accountability and Investment Act, which would renew the federal funding commitment to Metro, provide critical safety reforms, and strengthen oversight of WMATA for an additional ten years, at an annual level of $150 million, matched by funding from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The bill also includes an additional $50 million per year in federal funds that is tied to safety, oversight, and governance improvements and requires WMATA to enact certain reforms in order to receive the extra $50 million.