December 09, 2009

CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE $150 MILLION FOR METRO IN CONFERENCE REPORT

Includes funding for Metro to make urgent safety upgrades

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (b oth D-MD) today announced the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) rail transit system is on track to receive $150 million in federal funds to make urgent safety upgrades. It is the first time WMATA has received funding through a dedicated federal funding stream.

 

The funds are included in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill, which was approved by a House-Senate Conference Committee as part of Congress' Fiscal Year 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Bill.

 

"I am pleased that this appropriations confirms the federal government's financial committed to Metro and to the passengers that it serves. It will allow Metro to meet urgent safety needs and it also will provide for an important, dedicated funding source that will allow the second-busiest public rail system in the country to meet its future obligations to safety and efficiency," said Senator Cardin.

 

 "Safety is our top priority," said Senator Mikulski, a member of the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee. "This year's tragic Metro crash should never have happened - I want to prevent it from ever happing again. First, funds included in this bill must be used to make safety upgrades the National Transportation Safety Board identifies in its investigation of the crash. Additional funds will be used to help fulfill the government's responsibility to keep the nation's second-busiest rail system operating safely and efficiently for its passengers." 

 

This is the first year of dedicated federal funding for Metro. Last year, Congress adopted legislation authorizing $1.5 billion in federal funds over 10 years to help put WMATA on firm financial footing and provide Metro's first dedicated, federal funding source. These funds will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia.

In addition to improving safety, this federal-state partnership will help save or create approximately 7,140 jobs. Seventy percent of Metro's more than 10,000 employees are residents of Maryland.