STATEMENT on WMATA’s closure of Metrorail for equipment investigation

March 15, 2016

Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director
(703) 599-6437

Aimee Custis, Communications Director
(202) 431-7185


WASHINGTON, DC — In response to the WMATA decision to close Metrorail on Wednesday, March 16 for an emergency equipment investigation, Coalition for Smarter Growth Executive Director Stewart Schwartz released the following statement:

“It took years for Metrorail to end up in this situation, where maintenance underfunding left us with the problems we see today. Clearly, we have a ways to go to repair Metro’s aging systems.  The new General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has shown he is willing to take the tough and bold steps necessary to focus the staff on making the critical fixes the system needs, and to keep the system safe — in this case on an emergency basis.

We are all in this together. So let’s deal with the emergency shutdown with a can-do attitude – turning to bus, VRE/MARC, carpools, telecommuting, bicycles and walking.  At the same time, Metrobus and local bus systems must ensure that there is adequate service all day and in the late evening for those who are completely transit-dependent.

Certainly, we will see on Wednesday just how important Metro is to our region – to our transportation system and our economy.  We may also realize amid the expected traffic gridlock tomorrow why dedicated bus lanes would offer a great way to move more people, faster and more reliably than the current bus in traffic model.

We hope that the ongoing challenges facing Metro will prompt our elected leaders to work together to provide the funding necessary to fix longstanding maintenance and rehabilitation problems. Failure is not an option.

About the Coalition for Smarter Growth

The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization in the Washington DC region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Its mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish. Learn more at