(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, all members of the National Capital House Congressional Delegation, led by Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), reintroduced the Metro Accountability and Investment Act. The legislation reauthorizes an existing federal capital funding source for WMATA for ten years and provides new federal capital and operating funds contingent on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) adopting specific Inspector General (IG) reforms as well as meeting metrics for safety, reliability, and operating cost efficiency.
“This is a significant milestone to have the entire National Capital House delegation in support of a Metro funding reauthorization bill,” said Rep. Connolly. “Our bill is a balanced proposal that recognizes the federal government’s responsibility to the funding, safety, and reliability of Metro. It would strengthen accountability and require the federal government, which is the single biggest beneficiary of Metro and represented on the WMATA Board of Directors, to put some skin in the game on operating costs. The local jurisdictions are stepping up their investments with the establishment of a dedicated funding source, now the federal government must demonstrate a similar commitment to our Nation’s transit system.”
“I’m pleased to join with my colleagues in the National Capitol Region to reintroduce the Metro Accountability and Investment Act, an important measure to improve the reliability of the Metro system,” said Rep. Hoyer. “We must work to provide Metro with the necessary resources to ensure the safety of the system for all riders. I thank Congressman Connolly for introducing this critical legislation once again.”
“Particularly considering that 40 percent of Metro’s rush hour ridership is comprised of federal workers, the federal government depends on Metro to transport workers to federal offices. Our bill is a continuation of PRIIA funding for another 10 years. Continued funding at $150 million annually for 10 years plus additional funds for operating and capital expenses would increase the federal government’s level of investment in Metro, while the District, Maryland, and Virginia have always matched PRIIA funding and, for the first time, have agreed to dedicated funding. Some of the new funding under our bill would be contingent upon Metro undertaking much-needed reforms to increase the independence of the WMATA Office of Inspector General,” said Rep. Norton.
“This long-term federal commitment to WMATA will help improve the safety and reliability of public transit across our region,” said Rep. Sarbanes. “We must continue to encourage and fulfill these types of federal-state funding agreements so that hardworking Marylanders – including thousands of federal civil servants – can capitalize on a safe and dependable public transportation system.”
“Our bill would ensure that sure the federal government adequately funds the Metro system, which transports a huge portion of its labor force to and from work every day,” said Rep. Beyer. “This investment would provide WMATA with much of the resources it needs to improve the safety and reliability that our constituents deserve. Its time for the federal government to show leadership and stand with local jurisdictions to give WMATA the support it needs.”
“Our communities are only successful when the infrastructure supporting it meets the needs of the people. Metro is a critical component of the National Capital Region’s transportation network, and a key factor for attracting businesses, creating good-paying jobs, and supporting green, walkable neighborhoods,” said Rep. Brown. “However, the progress our region is making will be held back if the Metro system isn’t as strong, safe, and reliable as it can and should be. This bill is an important step in the right direction, and will make the needed investments to ensure Metro provides high-quality service for the region’s families, the federal government and the millions of Americans who visit Washington, D.C. every year.”
“Proud to join my Capital Region congressional colleagues in reintroducing this important legislation to invest in WMATA and improve system safety, reliability, and cost efficiency. Our constituents who depend on Metro every day and people who visit America’s capital city deserve Metro service that they can rely on completely,” said Rep. Raskin.
“It’s critical that the federal investment in Metro continue,” said Rep. Wexton. “This bill will bring greater accountability and encourage the adoption of improved safety and reliability standards. As our region continues to grow, it’s vital that we match that growth with an appropriate investment in Metro. A world-class transit system will encourage job creation, reduce congestion and pollution, and promote equity in our region.”
"In order to reduce commute times and increase the quality of life in our community, we have to invest in our infrastructure. The federal government must invest in our transportation systems, like Metro. This bill will ensure that much needed reforms to Metro take place and that we position Metro to be an efficient and effective transit system," said Rep. Trone.
Under this proposal, WMATA funding under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) would be reauthorized at $2 billion over 10 years beginning in FY2020. $150 million per year would be available for capital expenses contingent upon a 50 percent match from the local jurisdictions. $50 million per year would be for operating expenses, $10 million of which would be dedicated to the WMATA Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The entire PRIIA grant would be conditioned on WMATA enacting certain reforms that provide the WMATA OIG with the independence and resources it needs to hold the system accountable to safety and professional standards.
The legislation also authorizes a new tranche of $100 million in annual federal capital funding for WMATA for 20 years, ending in 2039. The conditions of this additional revenue would be based on system performance and continued dedicated funding from the local jurisdictions.
Text of the Metro Accountability and Investment Act is available here.
A specific Section-by-Section of the bill is available here.
The legislation is cosponsored by Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Representatives Holmes Norton (D-DC), Sarbanes (D-MD) Beyer (D-VA), Raskin (D-MD), Brown (D-MD), Wexton (D-VA) and Trone (D-MD).