Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the transit advocacy non-profit Coalition for Smarter Growth, says it’s “concerning” that the agency may have to rely more on capital budget funds to reduce the deficit.
CSG in the News: Zoning Proposal for Housing is Front and Center as Alexandria City Council Meets Tonight in Public Session
Bill Pugh lives in Alexandria and is senior policy fellow with Coalition for Smarter Growth. “Would you go so far as to say we have a housing crisis?,” Zebra asked Pugh in a phone interview two days after the community forum. “Alexandria has a housing shortage like many jurisdictions,” said Pugh, “and it also has an affordability issue as well. Whether we call it a crisis or not, the data that was presented by the Urban Institute has clearly shown there’s not enough housing in the DC region on all income levels. And we see that in day-to-day examples. My kids attend ACPS schools and many of their teachers drive in from Prince William and Prince George’s counties because they can’t afford to live here."
CSG in the News: How Washington region leaders can score a transit touchdown for the ages (Hint: it’s not funding a stadium)
We haven’t heard proposals from our elected officials yet on how they will close the Metro funding gap, but we have heard a lot from them about the Commanders. Which public investment should our leaders prioritize? The Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG) crunched the numbers and found that saving the Metro system (rail, bus, and paratransit) would cost less than one-tenth per user compared to the public subsidies proposed for a new Commanders stadium.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA/Metro) is facing a $750 million annual operating budget shortfall in fiscal 2025, which starts July 1, 2024 – just 10 months away. If our state and local governments in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia don’t step up to address the ongoing funding need, our region’s transit would suffer catastrophic cuts. At the same time, we’ve seen a lot of attention to potential public subsidies for a new football stadium for the Washington Commanders. So, the Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG) compared the cost of closing the WMATA budget gap to recent Maryland and Virginia stadium-subsidy proposals.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is urging leaders from Maryland, D.C. and Virginia to invest in D.C.-area transit as Metro faces a possible $750 million operating budget shortfall by July 1, which is the beginning of the agency’s next fiscal year. “Our analysis shows that there should be as much and certainly more enthusiasm in Richmond, Annapolis and D.C. for maintaining and enhancing our critical Metro system as there is for subsidizing an already lucrative professional sports franchise,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the coalition, in a statement. “Sports fans, tourists, workers, families, businesses and our regional and state economy all depend on frequent and reliable Metro service.”