(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) and Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08), introduced the WMATA Flexible Funding and Safety Improve Act. The bill would give Metro broader discretion and the ability to “flex” its federal grants for operating costs with the goal of avoiding service cuts and fare increases, and explore innovative ways to increase ridership including by offering flat fares and free transfers between bus and rail service. Additionally, the legislation creates two labor-management safety task forces and calls for greater scrutiny of the MetroAccess paratransit program, which is currently being investigated by Metro’s Office of the Inspector General for manipulating and falsifying performance data.
“A strong, safe and reliable Metro is key to getting people around, attracting businesses and creating good-paying jobs, and reducing congestion and carbon emissions. But over the last few years, residents of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia have been forced to wait longer, pay more, and realize they can no longer rely on Metro. Mediocre, substandard service, and higher and higher fares, cannot be the new normal,” said Congressman Brown. “This bill will bring more people back to Metro by exploring innovative ideas and holding the line on fare increases, fosters a permanent safety culture at WMATA, and ensures we provide high quality service for elderly riders and people with disabilities.”
“Tens of thousands of people in our region rely on WMATA as their primary mode of transportation every day. We owe it to our constituents and everyone who rides to make WMATA safe, reliable and cost-effective. To do that, we’ve got to provide consistent and reliable funding for WMATA, find new ways to promote and reward ridership, and improve service for everyone,” said Congressman Raskin. “This bill seeks to take practical steps to make real progress for our Metro system, and I salute Congressman Brown for his hard work on this plan.”
“Our union is enthusiastic about the WMATA Flexible Funding and Safety Improvement Act because it presents positive, forward thinking proposals that will make Metro a system that enhances the experience of our riders while recognizing the hard work of our members on the front-lines. ATU Local 689 is committed to working towards substantive improvement to Metro so that it is no longer a system that this region tolerates, but is one that is effective, safe, reliable and affordable. We are happy to stand with Congressmen Brown and Raskin as we work together to meet those goals,” said ATU Local 689 President Jackie Jeter.
“The ATU praises Reps. Brown and Raskin for putting forth a sensible approach to fix Metro by providing critical funding for Metro to ensure reliable and affordable transit service for the riding public in the DMV and to improve the safety of the system while recognizing the commitment and dedication of the frontline workers who make the system run on time each and every day,” said ATU International President Larry Hanley.
Congressman Jamie Raskin represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, which includes Montgomery, Frederick, and Carroll counties. He is the Vice Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, a Senior Democratic Whip, and Freshman Representative to the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee. He also serves on the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and the Committee on House Administration.