The Council of Governments approved a new committee to aggressively advocate for dedicated funding of the region’s Metro system. COG timed today’s announcement of a new Metro Dedicated Funding Committee to coincide with the start of state legislative sessions in Annapolis and Richmond.
The committee will provide direction and support to state lawmakers promoting legislation that would provide dedicated funding for Metro, which is one of the few major transit systems in the nation without a significant annual funding mechanism.
“COG initiated this effort about a year ago, and a lot has been done, such as in the District, but we now need the ability to coordinate our efforts and our advocacy strategy,” said Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette, who will help guide this major regional initiative as 2006 COG Board Chair.
Legislation was introduced last month in the D.C. Council to set aside .5 percent of the retail sales tax for maintaining and improving operations of the system. Today, Virginia State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple filed dedicated funding legislation before sessions began in Richmond. And according to Montgomery County Council Member Michael Knapp, though details are not yet available, progress is being made in Maryland and officials expect a bill to be proposed to the Assembly during this session.
The committee will include representatives from COG, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the Federal City Council, and other business, civic, and transportation groups It will also engage in public outreach and ensure that the combined efforts of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia meet the requirements of the House Bill proposed last year by U.S. Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) to grant Metro $1.5 Billion federal dollars.
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