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.
As leaders of the Washington area’s business community, we applaud the leadership of former U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood and the release of his report on Metro. We are especially pleased that the report focuses on three concurrent areas of reform: dedicated funding, governance and operations. Without substantial reform in each of these areas, Metro will not be able to deliver the level of safe, reliable, and sustainable service that is of critical importance to the region.
In response to reporting earlier today about a stopgap spending measure for the Metrorail system, a diverse group of regional stakeholders representing Metro riders, businesses, nonprofits and advocates are calling for more urgent action to transform Metro—immediately. A one-year funding patch for Metro repairs is short-sighted and does not prioritize the system or a long-term solution. Taking action in the legislative sessions starting in January 2018 is critical. We cannot delay until 2019 when the needs today are so urgent. Failure to address Metro’s funding and governance crisis immediately is not an option.
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.