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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) earlier this week proposed eliminating weekend rail service and closing 19 rail stations as part of its fiscal-year 2022 operating budget.
The proposal comes as WMATA faces a nearly $500 million budget shortfall due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency expects the pandemic to continue heavily impacting ridership and revenue, WMATA officials wrote in the budget proposal document.
The budget "preserves barebones service to sustain essential travel and to ensure the network is in place to serve regional recovery," WMATA officials wrote.
The budget also proposes salary freezes, 1,500 layoffs and reduced weekday rail service between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.
WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld told The Washington Post that if federal funding arrives before April or May 2021, the agency would be able to change course and make less drastic cuts.
WMATA will finalize the budget in March 2021, with changes going into effect in July 2021.