FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, March 10, 2018
Richmond, VA – This morning, the Virginia General Assembly approved HB1539/SB856 to provide $154 million in new, dedicated, and bondable funding for Metro as well as provisions for governance reform. Today’s vote is a major victory that puts the Greater Washington region in position to take its most significant step forward on Metro since the system was founded. Virginia has taken the necessary step for our region to achieve $500 million in new annual, dedicated funding for Metro. Now it is time for Maryland and D.C. to do their part, continuing the good work already under way by leaders in all jurisdictions.
“The step taken by Virginia today is truly historic,” said MetroNow Campaign Manager Clare Flannery, “and we are confident that Maryland and Washington D.C. will step up in the same way.” She continued, “This kind of collaboration between the jurisdictions is unprecedented — all three have funding and reform proposals on the table. Virginia has raised everyone’s expectation and today’s vote proves conclusively that the window has opened this year for a long-term solution.”
The urgency of finding a solution has never been greater. Safety and reliability issues have mounted in past years, resulting in declining ridership. WMATA management, industry experts, and regional stakeholders have reached a consensus that a minimum of $500 million per year in new funding, shared according to existing formulas, is needed to avoid further deterioration of the system.
By approving its full $154 million funding share, Virginia’s vote sets the stage for Maryland and Washington D.C. to pass similar measures to put Metro on a positive and sustainable path. However, Virginia’s new funding is conditioned on each jurisdiction also providing its full share. Even a small gap in funding could leave Metro without its needed funding, and emergency shutdowns, service reductions and fare increases on the horizon.
“Metro is a vital component of Greater Washington’s transportation infrastructure and its viability directly impacts our region’s ability to compete for companies like Amazon, as well as attract and retain our talented workforce and other private sector industries that will drive our regional economy in the future,” said the MetroNow Coalition. “Virginia has stepped up and shown great leadership by securing $154 million in annual, dedicated funding for Metro, and we strongly urge Maryland and the District to meet their commitments of $167 million and $178 million, respectively.”
The Coalition’s focus now shifts to Maryland, where the General Assembly is in session until April 9. Maryland’s House of Delegates passed HB372 earlier this week to provide $150 million per year in dedicated funds, just $17 million short of Maryland’s full $167 million share. Washington D.C. has indicated it will provide its full $178 million share if both Virginia and Maryland do so.
Today, Virginia showed great leadership and we commend them for taking this historic first step. The MetroNow Coalition urges leaders in Maryland and Washington D.C. to recognize that the opportunity that has eluded the region for too long is finally here. At this critical juncture for the Metro system, failure to provide a complete, long-term solution is not an option. The Coalition will continue to work with partners in Maryland and Washington, D.C. to ensure that the historic victory achieved in Virginia today is shared across the region.
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About the MetroNow Coalition
The MetroNow Coalition is a group of regional leaders from organizations representing businesses and non-profit advocates who have come to together to ensure that action is taken to put Metro—the backbone of Greater Washington’s transportation infrastructure—on a safe, smart, and
sustainable path forward in 2018 and beyond. The coalition is dedicated to enacting solutions that will enable the Greater Washington region to have the world-class transportation system it needs to provide current and future residents with a high-quality of life and support economic growth.