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10/5/2005



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

D.C.-area leaders pledge to nail down dedicated dollars for WMATA


Earlier this week, Washington, D.C.-area elected officials and transportation leaders committed to finding a long-term funding source for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

During a regional summit attended by representatives from local, state and federal governments, and business and transportation groups, District of Columbia Council Chair Linda Cropp, D.C. Transportation Secretary Dan Tangherlini, Maryland Transportation Secretary Robert Flanagan, Virginia Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer and several others signed a pledge that they will seek dedicated funding for the authority. The summit was sponsored by WMATA, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Federal City Council and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

In addition, summit attendees agreed to continue negotiations with Congress to approve legislation that would provide $1.5 billion to WMATA during a 10-year period once the region agrees on a dedicated revenue source. The legislation also calls for appointing an inspector general and two federal representatives to sit on WMATA’s board.

Agencies such as the Brookings Institution and General Accounting Office have concluded that WMATA’s financial crises are due to a lack of dedicated funding. The authority currently funds its operations through fare and advertising revenue, and state and local governments. To reduce costs, WMATA has delayed nearly $350 million in repairs and upgrades to facilities and equipment during the past five years.


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