WASHINGTON, DC – Area elected officials on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors are asking Congress to honor the federal-regional Metro funding agreement that provides $150 million a year for capital and preventive maintenance, matched by funding from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Metro is the nation’s largest transit system without a dedicated revenue stream and 40 percent of its peak period customers are federal employees.
Supporting and fully funding the Metro agreement is a primary component of COG’s 2011 Federal Legislative Priorities, which were adopted today. Given its importance and the need to act quickly – Congress is currently debating budget and spending issues – Board members felt the need to highlight this priority specifically with a communication to Congress. The House of Representatives’ proposed Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011 eliminates funding for the 10-year agreement. COG members strongly supported the agreement, which was led by former U.S. Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) and U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and passed in 2008.
“We have 15 metro stations in Prince George’s County alone, so this is incredibly important to us locally,” said Andrea Harrison, COG Board Chair and Prince George’s County Councilmember. “It’s also important to the region as a whole, and we need to make sure Congress understands the effect that a loss of this funding will have on our economy and transportation network.”
The Board also voted unanimously to adopt an action plan designed to help improve response to emergencies and incidents like the January 26 snowstorm that hit during rush hour and crippled many commutes. The plan, the draft version of which is available here, outlines key areas of focus necessary for improvement and calls for the creation of a steering committee to oversee implementation of the plan’s recommendations.