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WMATA outlines $11 billion in capital needs

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) needs more than $11 billion in capital funds in a 10-year period to maintain, expand and improve its rail, bus and paratransit systems, the agency has announced.

With its current capital funding agreement set to expire in 2010, WMATA managers spent the past several months conducting a detailed capital needs inventory. Between 2010 and 2020, the agency will require $11.3 billion to rehabilitate its aging system and meeting growing ridership demand.

WMATA outlined more than $7 billion in maintenance needs, such as repairing tunnels, platforms and elevators, restoring old maintenance facilities, and updating critical software. The authority also has to replace one-third of its rail-car fleet, including some trains that are more than 30 years old.

WMATA also needs nearly $3 billion to address ridership growth. During the 10-year period, Metrorail ridership is expected to grow 22 percent, to about 1 million daily trips. To accommodate the additional passengers, the agency must complete power upgrades to run longer trains and build pedestrian tunnels between rail stations.

Finally, the authority would allocate $700 million to customer improvements, such as adding security lighting and improving station signage.

WMATA officials hope to have a funding agreement in place by July 2010.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/23/2008