Washington, D.C. (December 13, 2017) – The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors today issued an urgent call for swift action on long-term dedicated funding for Metro to ensure that the system is safe, efficiently managed, and maintained in a state of good repair.
According to a resolution approved today, the board strongly supports “identification and enactment by the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia of long-term dedicated bondable, reliable, and sustainable funding that, together with the federal government, collectively provides $500 million per year of additional funding” beyond 2017 levels. The resolution states that the funding would grow with the economy and be implemented no later than July 1, 2019 (Fiscal Year 2020).
“We believe that our recommendations, in addition to the other Metro proposals that have been advanced this year, have helped forge consensus around Metro’s critical capital needs and ensured that long-term dedicated funding for Metro remains our top priority until a final agreement is reached, which we hope could happen as soon as the 2018 legislative sessions,” said COG Metro Strategy Group Chairman and Fairfax County Chairman Sharon Bulova. The group, which is made up of 11 area elected officials, worked in 2017 to help the region ensure the transit system’s long-term financial sustainability.
New, dedicated funding would allow Metro to implement its capital improvement program, including $15.5 billion over 10 years required to achieve a state of good repair. A $6.1 billion gap currently exists during this time period according to analyses performed for COG earlier this year. Long-term dedicated funding will also directly support the region’s goal of keeping the system safe and reliable as envisioned in Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s plan announced earlier this year.
“We have made important strides in advancing regional consensus, and we believe that our discussion and engagement over the past several months has laid the groundwork for swift, decisive action by state and federal leaders,” said COG Board Chairman and District of Columbia Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie.
The board called on the federal government to reauthorize its existing funding commitments for FY 2019. It also recommended that the federal government provide $125 million in new funding as its share of the $500 million dedicated funding requirement in recognition of the importance of Metro to its operations and the national and international significance of the system.
“From validating Metro’s capital needs to making a strong case that the federal government should provide new funding at a level commensurate with increased state and local funding, there is a lot that all of us have come to agree on,” said COG Vice Chairman and Prince George’s County Council Member Derrick Davis.
To ensure Metro can continue its major progress in implementing its capital improvement program, the board recommended fully funding Metro’s capital funding needs on a one-year interim basis if long-term dedicated funding isn’t in place until July 1, 2019 (FY 2020).
Bulova proposed an amendment to the resolution that called for the District, Maryland, Virginia, and the federal government to provide equal shares—or $125 million—of the new dedicated funding. While officials representing the District did not support the amendment, it passed and was included in the final resolution.
The board also stated that it is essential that complementary governance and reform actions are taken resulting in the enhancement of Metro’s management and operational efficiency to ensure the best use of the new funding.
The resolution will be sent to the executive and legislative leadership of the District, Maryland, Virginia, and the federal government, including the region’s Congressional delegation. COG officials have offered to facilitate additional dialogue and engagement of state and federal leaders in order to forge a final long-term dedicated funding agreement.
View COG Board Resolution R64-2017 - Metro Strategy Group Recommendations.
The resolution received 19 YES votes, five NO votes, and one abstention.