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1/25/2013    



Passenger Rail Article
WMATA drafts 'Momentum' plan to define transit system's future



Passenger Rail
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) officials yesterday unveiled "Momentum: The Next Generation of Metro," a staff draft of a strategic plan that would "define the next generation" of WMATA, according to the agency.

Although WMATA already is undergoing a multi-year capital rebuilding effort to bring its system into a state of good repair, it also must begin simultaneously planning for expansion to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the Washington, D.C., area and keep pace with expected population growth, agency officials said in a prepared statement.

The strategy calls for acquiring additional rail cars, power capacity and yard storage to operate eight-car trains during peak periods; developing a next-generation communications infrastructure; improving and expanding core stations; and adding infrastructure to provide the rail network the "routing flexibility it lacks today," they said.

"Our customers know that many trains, stations and buses are already crowded and we need to begin planning now to prevent that from worsening and prepare for more riders," said WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Richard Sarles.

The plan also includes funding estimates that would be required to meet near- and long-term needs through a three-step approach: $1 billion per year to maintain a safe and reliable system after current rebuilding efforts lead to a state of good repair; an additional $500 million per year to maximize the system's capacity and prepare for future transit projects; and an additional $740 million per year to prepare for future growth.

The plan will be reviewed and edited by WMATA's board, and additional public outreach will be conducted before it's finalized, agency officials said.

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