WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee (T&I), and Chris Van Hollen, member of the Senate Appropriations and Banking Committees, announced $275 million in funding for the region’s public transportation systems in the Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Funding bill. The legislation includes $125 million in funding for the Purple Line project and instructs the Secretary of Transportation to move forward with the project as soon the Full Funding Grant Agreement is signed. It also includes $150 million in funding for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) capital and preventative maintenance expenditures, with a focus on safety and oversight.
“We are fighting for a WMATA that is safe, accountable, and adequately funded,” said Senator Cardin. “President Trump may be willing to abandon his promise to invest in infrastructure, but this funding agreement sends an important signal that Congress is committed to improving our roads, bridges, and public transportation systems.”
“We’re pleased to announce this new federal investment in our region’s public transportation systems. We are committed to a Purple Line that protects the hiker-biker trail and all of the communities along the route, because we know it will strengthen our economy, help combat traffic and environment issues, and improve the lives of families in our state,” added Senator Van Hollen.
The $125 million for the Purple Line is the full amount allocated in President Obama’s FY 2017 budget for the project, bringing the total funding already provided by the federal government to $325 million since FY 2015. In contrast, President Trump’s budget completely eliminated funding for New Start transportation projects and put the Purple Line in jeopardy.
The funding for WMATA includes important safety conditions, ensuring that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) first reviews projects, certifies that WMATA is making progress on recommendations from the FTA 2015 Safety Management inspection, and ensures that they are placing the highest priority on safety.