WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding the announcement of “Safe Track,” a WMATA rehabilitation plan for Metrorail service that is likely to disrupt every line and numerous people’s lives for extended periods of time.
“Make no mistake, the ‘Safe Track’ plan unveiled today is going to be painful, and the severity of the remedy to what ails Metro is directly attributable to years of neglectful decisions and a failure to confront problems earlier. The losses in time, money and output will underscore just how important Metrorail is to both the federal government and Washington region, and will illustrate why Metro’s culture of safety and physical infrastructure should never have been allowed to erode to the crisis point we have reached today. But I believe that WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld understands the enormous impact that this plan will have on the daily lives of so many people, and would not be taking these steps unless he thought they were absolutely necessary to protect and properly serve Metro’s riders. I encourage WMATA leadership to continue working with federal experts on necessary improvements and upgrades, and to take every step possible to minimize the disruption to the daily lives of Washington-area commuters. I also encourage the state, local and federal government to give WMATA the support and flexibility needed to get the work done. With proper planning, management and communication, Metro can once again be the safe and reliable transit system that this region needs. Having fought tooth-and-nail for years in Congress to secure consistent, long-term funding for WMATA, I urge my colleagues to redouble our efforts to restore the quality of service to levels that properly befit America’s rail system.”