Despite SafeTrack’s inconveniences, 94 percent see the system as valuable to the region, more than two-thirds support an increase in public funding and 90 percent say that governance reform is essential
Washington, D.C., November 2, 2017 – Amid widespread concern about the future viability of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail system, a new survey finds the public overwhelmingly believes in the value of the transit system, which serves as a critical component of the region’s infrastructure. Residents surveyed across WMATA’s service area in the District, Virginia and Maryland made strong calls to increase public funding and dramatically reform Metro to drive improvements.
In the survey, conducted for the Federal City Council, Washington Board of Trade, The 2030 Group and Greater Washington Partnership earlier this month, 94 percent of residents surveyed agreed that the Metro system is valuable to the greater Washington region, regardless of Metro’s current state of operations. With that in mind, 70 percent said they support an increase in public funding to improve the system.
However, respondents agreed that funding alone is not enough to make the changes necessary to sustain the system long term. Voters were given an opportunity to react to statements about several known proposals for reform, including governance. 90 percent of respondents across the DMV agreed that while funding for Metro is a significant factor, without an effective governance structure, the Metro system can never reach its full potential.
“It’s encouraging that residents across the entire DMV still believe in Metro’s value and are eager to invest in its future. Washington should have a Metro system we can be proud of – so we do not leave passengers in a lurch on the tracks,” said Kim Horn, Chair-elect of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.
“The opinions reflected in this survey reinforce that Metro plays a critical role in the lives of regional residents, and that people are truly motivated right now to call for reforms that would improve livability. Public funding isn’t enough – it’s also time to address Metro’s governance and operations.”
For decades, Metro has served as the regional economy’s lifeblood, connecting commuters to job opportunities across the region, supporting the federal workforce, and inspiring $25 billion in new development. Opportunities like Amazon’s search for a location for its second headquarters serve as a reminder of the need for regional cooperation – and by calling for increased funding for Metro, survey respondents sent a message that they expect elected leaders to come together to find solutions.
“Based on these findings, and the strong feelings this survey revealed, we believe now is the time to take bold action to reform Metro’s governance, funding and operations. It’s important to address all three aspects to comprehensively make the changes that will make our Metro system – and our economy – the envy of the nation,” said Ed Walter, Chairman, Federal City Council.
About the organizations
Established in 1954, the Federal City Council (FC2) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the improvement of the District of Columbia. Since its founding, the FC2 has a rich history of achievement, having played a critical role in the creation of Metro, the renovation of Union Station, the establishment of the Verizon Center, and the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Avenue. Comprised of the area’s top business, professional, education and civic leaders, the Council works with the District and federal governments to develop and implement solutions to important community problems. By serving as a trusted partner for civic improvement, and by bringing to bear the knowledge, experience, access, and resources of its members, the Council plays a critical role in the advancement of the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.federalcitycouncil.org.
The Greater Washington Board of Trade is shaping and advancing our regional economy, with a focus on improving connectivity and making better use of existing resources. The Board of Trade addresses business concerns that stretch across the District of Columbia, Suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia, with a priority focus on securing long term dedicated funding and governance reform for Metro and intelligently growing this region through the use of smart cities concepts. By acting more as a region, Greater Washington will enhance efficiencies of operation and economies of scale. Giving voice to the business community is how the Board of Trade will shape and advance a vibrant regional economy. This work is backed by sound research and over 128 years of experience. To learn more about the Greater Washington Board of Trade and its commitment to improving the region’s business community, visit www.boardoftrade.org.
The 2030 Group is an organization of Greater Washington business leaders focused on regional longterm decision-making and solutions. Our mission is to increase regional collaboration and to advance a strong regional economy that can compete on a global scale, sustain economic development, strengthen employment opportunities, and provide a high quality of life for current and future residents. For more information, visit the2030group.com.
The Greater Washington Partnership is a civic alliance of CEOs, comprised of leading businesses and entrepreneurs, who are committed to making the Capital Region – from Baltimore to Richmond – one of the world’s best places to live, work and build a business. Working in collaboration with leaders across our communities, the Partnership connects and leverages the region’s extraordinary assets to advance inclusive, actionable solutions that strengthen the Capital Region as leading global region and center for commerce and innovation. To learn more, please visit www.greaterwashingtonpartnership.com.
About the survey
Edelman Intelligence fielded a 15-minute online survey from October 9-16, 2017, with 621 registered voters in Washington, D.C.; suburban Maryland; and Northern Virginia (207 participants from each region). The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus 3.9 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.