RELEASE: Non-profit advocacy groups urge regional consensus on dedicated funding for WMATA for FY2019 budget


June 26, 2017

Stewart Schwartz
Executive Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth
703-599-6437 (c),

David Sears
Sierra Club Montgomery Group

Nancy Soreng
Metro Funding Action Committee Co-Chair
League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area

Non-profit advocacy groups urge regional consensus on dedicated funding for #WMATA for FY2019 budget

Washington, DC – Last week, leading business groups came together to issue a call for action on Metro, releasing a set of principles focused on reform at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Eighteen non-profit groups, whose work spans Maryland, DC, and Virginia, added to the momentum as they called for urgent regional action to fund and fix Metro, pledging to focus their grassroots efforts to win broad public support. In March, they released a statement of principles calling for dedicated funding and a return to frequent, reliable Metro service.

“Many of our groups have worked together for more than two decades, and we’ve come together to dedicate ourselves to help restore Metro to a world-class system,” said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “We are already working closely with the business community, civic groups, and elected officials to win the funding the system needs.”

“We believe it’s essential to achieve regional consensus on funding Metro in time for crafting the final FY2019 WMATA budget,” said David Sears, Chair for the Montgomery Group of the Sierra Club. “The General Manager and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments have laid out the clear need. The General Manager has demonstrated effective leadership and laid out a sensible set of reforms. Other groups are proposing reforms and the LaHood study is expected this fall. We need consensus reforms that avoid political gridlock, and cannot lose sight of the need to provide the additional capital funding required for rebuilding our 40-year-old system.”

The non-profit groups offer a range of policy, grassroots, social media, and lobbying experience and capacity stretching across Virginia, Maryland, and DC. “Our groups have been active in meeting with business leaders and elected officials, reaching out to our members, and commenting on the series of studies and reports issued by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Federal City Council, WMATA’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, and the union — ATU689,” said Schwartz.

“The League of Woman Voters in the National Capital Region highlighted the need for a reliable funding source for Metro some 40 years ago and has included transportation among its key focus areas in recent years; we see the Metro crisis as among the top civic issues our region faces,” said Nancy Soreng, Metro Funding Action Committee Co-Chair. “We are pledging our extensive experience in public education and engagement to host forums and provide voter education materials.”

“Funding and fixing Metro is crucial to sustain an economically successful and equitable DC region. Metro is essential for providing frequent, reliable, and affordable transit, connecting workers to jobs, increasing our economic competitiveness, reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution, and enhancing the quality of life for all residents of our region,” said Schwartz.

“The future of our region depends on our Metro system. We urge the leaders of Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia to reach consensus within the next year on funding and structural solutions for this vital system,” concluded Schwartz.

The groups’ statement of principles can be found here.

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.

League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area (LWVNCA) is comprised of the District of Columbia League and 10 Leagues in Maryland and Virginia surrounding the nation’s capital. We are a nonpartisan, political, membership organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. The League influences public policy through education and advocacy at all levels of government.

The Montgomery County Maryland Sierra Club Group focuses on local issues, including improving public transit, maintaining clean water sources, supporting and monitoring the county’s Climate Protection Plan, and endorsing and supporting green candidates.