U.S. Representatives Steny Hoyer (MD-5) and Gerry Connolly (VA-11) spoke at the April COG Board of Directors meeting about two priorities for the region’s congressional delegation related to Metro—helping establish the Metrorail Safety Commission and ensuring that the transit system receives the funding it needs to be safe and reliable.
Hoyer said that he and his colleagues are working to pass federal legislation to give approval to a compact establishing the Metro Safety Commission (MSC). The MSC will be a new, independent body to provide safety oversight of Metro, which is currently provided by the Federal Transit Administration.
MORE: Jurisdictions give approval to Metrorail Safety Commission
Following his remarks on the MSC, Hoyer added, “Metro must have a dedicated source of funding if it is to become a safer, more reliable system.” He and Connolly said the source doesn’t need to be the same from each jurisdiction.
“We need to focus on the bottom line, which is securing dedicated funding for Metro,” said Connolly. He said regional leaders must work together cooperatively and show respect for each other as they develop their solutions. If the region can demonstrate unity, he said it will help members of the congressional delegation in persuading their counterparts in Congress regarding Metro’s funding needs.
Both Hoyer and Connolly said the delegation would continue to strongly advocate for Metro and highlighted the need to continue the federal-regional agreement that currently provides $150 million a year in federal funds, which are matched by the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.
Following their presentation, the COG Board discussed an analysis on Metro’s operating and capital funding needs and an assessment of options for a future dedicated source of funding on Metro. The analysis was conducted for COG by a panel of city and county managers and the District of Columbia's chief financial officer.
MORE: COG releases technical panel report on Metro