Today, in response to the introduction of the METRO Accountability and Reform ACT in Congress by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) the Metro Reform Coalition – a group of regional business and non-profit leaders dedicated to securing comprehensive reform of Metro’s governance, operating, and funding structures in 2018 – released the following statement:
“We applaud Representative Barbara Comstock for taking the initiative to introduce federal legislation to reform WMATA, a vital component of Greater Washington’s transportation infrastructure that impacts the region’s economic security, quality of life, and global competitiveness. Representative Comstock’s legislation calls for significant changes to the governance structure of WMATA’s Board of Directors, including requiring the establishment of a smaller and more effective reform board, which we support. The bill also requests the commitment of federal funding, which is urgently needed. We strongly believe that comprehensive reform to Metro’s governance and funding will lead to operational improvement across the system. Both proposals align with the recommendations we made in June to Governors McAuliffe and Hogan, Mayor Bowser and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Chao calling for comprehensive reform. Specifically, we believe the legislation’s call for a temporary reform board will allow for more sound decision-making and establish the framework necessary for long-term structural improvements for the system. Further, we see the commitment of federal funding as a key component of a sustainable funding structure. Federal funding, combined with at least $500 million in dedicated and bondable funding per year from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, is required to provide the level of funding necessary to sustain the system.
We look forward to working with Representative Comstock, other members of Congress and our state and local elected officials to ensure the necessary reforms to Metro are made this fiscal year. The three jurisdictions – the District, Maryland and Virginia – must act immediately in their upcoming legislative sessions to advance comprehensive reform and sustainable funding. At the same time, given the importance of this issue, we must also work urgently through Congress. We call upon our elected leadership and all stakeholders to work together to ensure the economic stability and livability of our region by reforming and funding Metro now.”