Rockville, MD –
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today toured the newly expanded Shady Grove Metro Rail Yard and, on behalf of the metropolitan area Congressional delegation, announced $34.3 million in federal funds that will help continue investment in upgraded rail cars and vital infrastructure. Standing alongside Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. and other senior Metro managers, Senator Cardin renewed his support for dedicated federal funding for the Washington Metro System, in coordination with Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
“The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit system has exceeded all expectations in its 30-year history. It transports 1.2 million passengers per day and has become integral to the daily movements of the federal government and its workers across the Capital area. As Metro begins to show its age, we have a responsibility to invest in its revitalization,” said Senator Cardin. “The latest $34.3 million for rail cars is critical but it is not nearly enough.”
“The economic health of the region, Maryland and the federal government are interconnected with the growth of the Metro System. Nearly half of Metrorail’s rush hour passengers are federal employees. And approximately 10 percent of all Metro’s riders use the Metrorail stations at the Pentagon, Capitol South or Union Station, three hubs for the military and civilian federal employees,” Senator Cardin stated. “The General Services Administration has even made it policy to locate federal facilities in close proximity to Metro stations.”
“Federal funding for mass transit like the Washington Metro System also contributes to the environmental health of our region,” said Senator Cardin. “Metro helps take 580,000 cars off our local roads each weekday. In addition to reducing congestion, it saves 75 million gallons of gasoline each year and eliminates one million tons of dangerous greenhouse gases a year.”
The National Capital Transportation Amendments Act (S. 1446),
sponsored by Senator Cardin and Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), John Warner (R-VA) and Jim Webb (D-VA), requires Maryland, Virginia and the District to provide a
dedicated funding source for Metro.
The legislation also establishes an Office of Inspector General of the Transit Authority and expands the WMATA Board of Directors.
A 2005 report by the Metropolitan Council of Governments, the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Federal City Council found that WMATA faces an average annual operating and capital shortfall of approximately $300 million between FY 2006 and FY 2015. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the Greater Washington Board of Trade are among the groups that have endorsed this bipartisan measure.