RELEASE: 18 Groups say FUND METRO!

December 12, 2023

Stewart Schwartz, CSG; 703-599-6437

Fund Metro!

Coalition of non-profit groups released Statement of Principles calling on DC, Maryland, and Virginia officials to fully fund transit – both Metro and other transit services

This week, WMATA General Manager Randy Clarke released a “doomsday budget” that would mean 60% cuts to Metro service in Fiscal Year 2025 (starting July 1, 2024).  Metro is facing a $750 million budget gap due to a combination of inflation, reduced ridership and farebox revenues, and other factors. Metro has identified $100 million in cost savings and proposes to shift capital funds to operating, but the failure of state and local governments to confirm additional funding means a significant budget gap remains.

Meanwhile, Maryland Governor Wes Moore proposed last week to help fill the WMATA budget gap with an additional $150 million in funding—but at the same time he proposed cutting state assistance to local transit services by 40% among other cuts to transit funding in the state.

Today, in advance of the December 14 meeting of the WMATA board, a coalition of non-profit groups organized under the “Fund Metro!” banner are calling on Governor Moore, Governor Youngkin, Mayor Bowser, our legislators and our local elected officials to put transit first. For Metro that means paying 100% of the operating gap remaining after WMATA’s $100 million in cost savings and no shift of capital funds to operations. 

The groups have released a Statement of Principles highlighting the benefits of transit, the dire consequences of failing to meet transit funding needs, and goals for great transit service and an inclusive, sustainable, transit-oriented future.

“Failure to fund, sustain, and expand frequent, reliable, safe, and affordable transit in our three jurisdictions cannot be an option,” said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth and coordinator for the campaign.

“Metrorail, Metrobus, local transit, light rail, and commuter rail are all critical to fight climate change and for Marylanders to access jobs and opportunity,” said Jane Lyons-Raeder, Transportation Chair for the Sierra Club Maryland Chapter.

“Metro is the lifeblood of DC’s economy and an essential service for DC residents and workers, suburban commuters, and the Federal government. It is a part of what makes the DMV area a special place to live. Even in a tight budget year, DC must fully fund its share necessary to close the WMATA budget gap,” said Michael Litt, Transportation Chair for the Sierra Club DC Chapter.

“Metro has made possible Northern Virginia’s success with walkable, transit-oriented communities and not only helps generate a significant share of local property taxes but also generates $1 billion per year in sales and income taxes to Virginia,” said Chris Slatt, Director of Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County. “It is certainly in the State of Virginia’s interest to contribute at least ½ of the Commonwealth’s share of the three-state funding solution for WMATA.”


The “Fund Metro!” coalition is made up of several DC-area nonprofit groups. List of all 18 groups who have signed on to date: the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Active Prince William, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Clean Fairfax, DC New Liberals, Gaithersburg HELP, Grassroots Alexandria, Greater Greater Washington, Just Economics, League of Women Voters of DC, League of Women Voters of Maryland, Mobilize Frederick, Sierra Club – Maryland Chapter, Sierra Club – DC Chapter, Southern Environmental Law Center, Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County, Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and YIMBYs of Northern Virginia.