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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA proposes six-year capital spending plan


Yesterday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) board’s Finance and Administration Committee reviewed the agency’s proposed $1.18 billion FY2012-FY2017 Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

The budget includes $850 million to maintain the rail and bus systems, as well as $330 million to implement safety enhancements recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The safety improvements include:
• replacing 1000 series rail cars, all No. 8 mainline switches and audio frequency track circuit modules;
• removing an unnecessary wayside maintenance communications system;
• conducting a comprehensive safety analysis of the automatic train-control system;
• implementing cable insulation resistance testing as part of the maintenance program;
• adding onboard event recorders on 1000- and 4000-series rail cars, and developing a program to monitor the recorders;
• assessing track circuits; 
• developing a program to periodically determine that electronic components in the train-control systems are performing within design tolerances; and
• replacing power cables.

In addition, WMATA officials are recommending that the agency prioritize state-of-good-repair projects over system expansion. The agency plans to rehabilitate portions of the Metrorail system between the Dupont Circle and Silver Spring stations, and between the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Stadium-Armory Metrorail stations; rehab escalators and elevators; and upgrade power systems to accommodate more eight-car trains, rail maintenance equipment, and operations support software and equipment.

The CIP will be funded through increased contributions from the jurisdictions that fund WMATA, federal stimulus dollars, dedicated federal and local matching funds provided through the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, and debt issuance.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/5/2010