Members of the COG Board of Directors talked about efforts to help restore Metro to a world-class transit system with former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and a panel of area business leaders during the May board meeting.
LaHood, who spoke with board members first, is leading an independent review of the transit system for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. He said his review, which is expected to be released this fall, would identify potential changes to Metro’s governance and funding. He stressed Metro’s significance as “America’s Subway”—not only essential to the region’s economy but also the operations of the federal government and millions of tourists that visit the nation’s capital each year.
LaHood told board members that he is reviewing past studies on Metro, which includes the recent COG technical panel report on the system’s funding needs, and making it a priority to engage with and listen to the transit system’s many stakeholders in order to arrive at some consensus points. He referenced his experience as U.S. Transportation Secretary working with a diverse group of leaders to help make the Silver Line a reality and said the same commitment will be needed “to make Metro number one again.”
Following LaHood, business leaders urged elected officials on the COG Board to move swiftly to develop a plan to provide Metro the funding it needs to continue to restore the system to a state of good repair and ensure its long-term maintenance. Greater Washington Board of Trade President and CEO Jim Dinegar, Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Harrington, and Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jim Corcoran, said it was essential that the Maryland and Virginia state legislatures are in a position to take action during their 2018 sessions.
MORE: Learn about COG’s focus on restoring Metrorail.
MORE: View the event page for meeting materials and an audio recording.