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Virginia General Assembly OKs WMATA funding bill

The bill will provide $154 million each year for WMATA.
Photo – WMATA/Larry Levine


The Virginia General Assembly has passed a bill that will provide $154 million annually for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

The amount is Virginia's share of the $500 million that WMATA has said it needs to address its capital needs, according to a press release issued by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC). Commission officials hope that Maryland and Washington, D.C. — WMATA's other two jurisdictions — will pass legislation to cover the balance.

In a March 10 statement, WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld hailed Virginia's bill as "historic legislation that will provide, for the first time, a dedicated funding source for Metro's safety and reliability programs."

The legislation also includes provisions to reform WMATA's governance. The provisions are consistent with NVTC's earlier recommendations, commission officials said.

In addition, the bill includes $15 million annually for the Virginia Railway Express (VRE), according to NVTC spokeswoman Karen Finucan Clarkson. NVTC co-owns VRE with the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam yesterday said he would ask the General Assembly to provide the WMATA funding from other sources rather than diverting it from other transportation projects, radio station WTOP reported. The amount would still remain the same, however.

The Assembly will take up Northam's amendments at a one-day reconvened session next month, WTOP reported.

Virginia lawmakers wrapped up their 2018 session without passing a budget. In a few weeks, Northam expects to call a separate special session to address the budget.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/13/2018