RELEASE: Business, Labor, Riders, Urbanists Join In Call to Fix Metro

Action Committee for Transit • Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689 • Coalition for Smarter Growth 
Federal City Council • Greater Greater Washington • Greater Washington Board of Trade

October 7, 2015

Stewart Schwartz, Coalition for Smarter Growth, 703-599-6437
Nick Brand, Action Committee for Transit, 404-441-4170
David Stephen, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689, 301-669-8207
Emeka Moneme, Federal City Council, (202) 223-4560
David Alpert, Greater Greater Washington, 202-656-1449
Jim Dinegar, Greater Washington Board of Trade, 202-857-5913

WASHINGTON, DC — Six major organizations representing business, labor, transit riders, and urbanists joined today to outline principles that the region should follow to restore Metro to good health.

In a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser and Governors Larry Hogan and Terry McAuliffe, the groups said that the regional transit agency needs a strong General Manager backed with commitments of political support, organizational authority, and funding.

The letter was signed by the Action Committee for Transit; Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689; Coalition for Smarter Growth; Federal City Council; Greater Greater Washington; and Greater Washington Board of Trade.

The full text of the letter is below, and online here.


Dear Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan, and Governor McAuliffe:

The undersigned organizations have come together out of concern about Metro, which is vital to our region’s economic, environmental, and cultural success. We are writing to express some basic principles that we believe must be heeded if Metro is to emerge successfully from its current crisis and fulfill the essential role it plays in our region’s transportation network and economy.

  1. Metro needs to hire a new General Manager before the year’s end who has experience with operations of large technologically complex systems, will provide strong leadership to change organizational culture, and will surround himself/herself with capable specialists.
  2. To recruit the strong leader Metro needs, the Board and the jurisdictions must commit to backing up the new General Manager with the political support, organizational authority, and funding needed to do the job successfully. Our organizations stand ready to provide our assistance as well..
  3. Metro must provide choices to the Board and public about key decisions, such as service changes, budgets, or planned safety and maintenance work. The Board and public need to understand and debate tradeoffs that affect them, such as how station closings, single tracking and reductions in train frequency relate to safety, maintenance, budget, and regulatory or contractual restrictions.

Our groups have been staunch advocates for maintaining transit service, ensuring adequate funding, and expanding capacity such as through more eight-car trains. Yet recent events have shaken our, and the public’s, confidence in a system and agency which our region depends upon. We are weighing in now to help the agency reach a path to restore this confidence.

To preserve and improve the region’s livability and economic health, Metro must ensure service levels that meet demand, reverse recent years’ erosion of train and bus service, restore off-peak train frequencies, and return to an expansion path so that it can meet future needs for core capacity and regional access. 

Nick Brand, President, Action Committee for Transit
Jackie Jeter, President, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689
Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth
Anthony Williams, CEO and Executive Director, Federal City Council
David Alpert, Founder and President, Greater Greater Washington
James C. Dinegar, President and CEO, Greater Washington Board of Trade
cc: Chief Executives of MD & VA counties and VA independent cities; WMATA Board; Congressional delegation