May 01, 2009

CARDIN, MIKULSKI SUBMIT APPROPRIATIONS REQUEST FOR FIRST YEAR OF DEDICATED METRO FUNDING

WASHINGTON , DC - U.S . Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (Both D-MD) today announced the submission of their formal request to the Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee to provide federal matching funds of $150 million for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Last October, Congress adopted legislation authorizing $1.5 billion in federal funds over 10 years to help put WMATA on firm financial footing and - for the first time - provide a dedicated, federal funding source for Metro capital and preventive maintenance projects.  

 

"After 30 years of unprecedented growth, Metro has proven its value to the federal government in easing the burden on our region's over-crowded roads on a daily basis and during major crises. As Metro trains and buses become overwhelmed, the time has now come for the federal government to pay its fair share," said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Budget and Environment and Public Works Committees. "The federal government has a special responsibility to its workers and the region to support the revitalization of Metro's aging infrastructure."

 

"Metro means more than just transportation - it means residents and visitors to our nation's capital can live, work, worship and play throughout the metro area without ever getting in their cars. It is invaluable to its riders and to easing congestion for everyone who uses the region's strained transportations systems," said Senator Mikulski, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee. "As commuters brace themselves against a struggling economy, the federal government must take the burden off the local taxpayers and the commuters by meeting its funding responsibilities to maintain and repair the Metro system."

 

Metro's funding partners in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia will put up an equal match from dedicated funding sources for every Federal dollar.   The legislatures of Maryland and Virginia have both passed the necessary language to trigger the matching funds. A similar measure from the District of Columbia is expected shortly. This dollar-for-dollar 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.

 

The Washington Metrorail system is the second busiest rapid transit system in the nation, carrying the equivalent of the combined subway ridership of BART in San Francisco, MARTA in Atlanta and SEPTA in Philadelphia. Metrorail and Metrobus serve a population of over 3.5 million within a 1,500 square-mile area, and average weekday passenger trips on the two systems total nearly 1.3 million-- with 424,000 daily trips for Marylanders every weekday.

 

Created in 1966, many Metrorail stations were built at the request of the federal government, and nearly half of all stations are located at federal facilities. Federal employees comprise 40% of WMATA's peak ridership, and millions of others use the WMATA system each year to visit the Nation's Capital or conduct business with the federal government. WMATA also is a critical component for ensuring continuity of federal government operations during an emergency, and federal recovery plans rely heavily on WMATA, which played a key role on September 11, 2001. 

 

There are 26 Metrorail stations (38.3 miles of rail line) in Maryland, over 100 Metrobus routes and three bus dispatch and maintenance garages (Landover, Montgomery and Southern Avenue) located in Maryland.  In addition, heavy bus maintenance is performed at the Carmen E. Turner Facility in Landover.   Five of Metro's eight rail maintenance facilities are located in Maryland: Branch Ave and Greenbelt on the Green Line, Glenmont and Shady Grove on the Red Line, and New Carrollton on the Orange Line.

 

For information on other appropriations request from Senators Cardin and Mikulski, please visit cardin.senate.gov and mikulski.senate.gov , respectively. FY2010 requests will be posted on a rolling basis throughout May based on submissions to the Senate Appropriations Committee.