WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Jim Webb (D-VA), and Mark Warner (D-VA) today announced approval of $150 million for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The funding was included in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2012 which passed both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate this evening.
The legislation requires that the highest priority be given to capital projects that will improve safety at WMATA, and that the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia match the federal funding for a total of $300 million.
“This funding will help keep Metro on track for the millions of Marylanders and visitors to our Nation’s Capital who rely on safe and reliable transportation,” said Senator Cardin. “As our nation’s second-busiest rapid transit system, Metro helps to get our federal workers to their jobs and also is an integral part of the economic health of our entire region. Metro’s dedicated source of funding is critical to the efficient operation of the entire system and the safety of its riders. I extremely pleased that we were able to put ideology aside to make sure Metro has the funding it needs to keep operating safely and efficiently.”
“For all that Metro does to keep government running, get people to work and get cars off the road, this investment in Metro is about safety,” Senator Mikulski said. “It means residents, commuters, and visitors to our nation’s capital can live, work, worship and play throughout the metro area without ever getting in their cars and is invaluable in easing congestion for everyone who uses the region’s strained transportation systems. We need to be frugal, but we can’t be foolish when it comes to safety. With this important funding, we ensure the federal government takes the burden off the local taxpayers and commuters by meeting its funding responsibilities to make sure the region’s Metro system is safe and reliable.”
“Millions of Virginians use the Metro system each year to commute to work, visit the Nation’s Capital or conduct business with the federal government. These public transit investments are part of our ongoing efforts to ease gridlock and traffic congestion in Northern Virginia,” said Senator Webb. “I will continue to advocate dedicated federal funding for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and to support projects that improve our transportation infrastructure and the expansion of public transit options.”
“These funds are crucial to making the Metro system safer,” said Senator Warner. “Federal employees account for nearly half of Metro’s peak-hour ridership and millions of visitors use the system each year, and I am proud that the Virginia and Maryland delegations were able to follow through with this commitment.”
This is the third installment of dedicated federal funding for Metro. In 2008, Congress adopted legislation authorizing $1.5 billion in federal funds over 10 years to help improve Metro’s infrastructure 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.