September 24, 2008

CARDIN, MIKULSKI, WARNER AND WEBB APPLAUD HOUSE PASSAGE OF DEDICATED METRO FUNDING, URGE SWIFT VOTE IN THE SENATE

WASHINGTON , DC - Following House passage today of dedicated, federal funding for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (Both D-MD) and Senators John Warner (R-VA) and Jim Webb (D-VA), urged their Senate colleagues to quickly pass the measure. The authorization is included in a House-Senate agreement that packages together a number of rail transportation and security priorities including Amtrak.

 

"It's time to put ideology aside. We have pressing economic issues to address and the effective functioning of mass transit in the nation's capital should not be in dispute," said Senator Cardin. "The House of Representatives, especially Majority Leader Hoyer and Congressman Davis, have taken a giant leap forward today in fulfilling the federal government's special responsibility to supporting the infrastructure needs of Metro, which has become integral to the daily movements of the federal government and its workers . The Senate needs to pass this bill and get it to the President for signature quickly."

 

"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. As commuters brace themselves against high gas prices and a struggling economy, riders need our help," said Senator Mikulski, a member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. "I commend the House for its passage and urge my Senate colleagues to consider this proposal immediately.  I will continue my fight with Senators Cardin, Warner and Webb to increase our investment in America's Metro and to keep people on the go in Maryland and the entire National Capitol Region."

 

"I applaud the passage of this critical infrastructure bill, which helps commuters get to their destinations on a daily basis and takes off the road carbon-emitting vehicles. The Senate should move quickly to pass this priority legislation," Senator Warner said.

"Appropriate funding for the Metro system is vital to our federal workforce, millions of tourists who visit our nation's capital area annually and the millions of residents who live around Washington, DC ," said Senator Webb. "In the past, this important issue has been trumped by the political gamesmanship of one Senator.  It is my hope that we can work in a principled, bipartisan manner to pass this funding measure in an expeditious fashion . The inclusion of our Metro funding legislation in the Amtrak bill brings us one step closer to securing the funding for Metro that is desperately needed."

 

The pending legislation provides $1.5 billion in federal funds over 10 years for WMATA, which is matched by funding from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. It also establishes an Office of Inspector General of the Transit Authority and expands the WMATA Board of Directors.

 

Amtrak operates approximately 90 trains daily in Maryland, mostly on the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor through Baltimore Penn Station and New Carrollton. More than 1.7 million passengers board and disembark at Maryland's Amtrak stations every year.