COALITION FOR SMARTER GROWTH. FRIENDS OF WHITE FLINT. FAIRFAX ADVOCATES FOR BETTER BICYCLING. MARYLAND CENTER ON ECONOMIC POLICY. MONTGOMERY COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE. NORTHERN VIRGINIA AFFORDABLE HOUSING ALLIANCE.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2017
Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director
Regional groups respond to MWCOG report and call for dedicated funding for Metro
Washington, DC — Today the regional Council of Governments (COG) accepted a report documenting Metro’s operating, maintenance, and capital needs and funding gap over the next decade, the economic value of Metro, suggested metrics and benchmarks, and an assessment of options for a dedicated source of revenues to fill the funding gaps.
“We commend the Council of Governments and their staffs for this important report, and we urge our region’s elected officials to act expeditiously to put in place fixes and dedicated funding for Metro,” said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “This year is ‘make or break’ for Metro — a funding solution must be in place by the end of the 2018 General Assembly sessions in Virginia and Maryland.”
“The COG report and General Manager Wiedefeld’s plan are the best starting points for getting Metro back on track, said Schwartz. “Major fixes for Metro’s challenges can and should be done without opening the Metro compact or creating a control board.”
“Our groups are concerned that opening the Metro compact risks political gridlock and distracts from reaching a funding agreement within the next year. Similarly, the benefit of a control board isn’t clear, and it’s risky at a time when federal commitment to transit is in doubt,” said Schwartz
“We also feel that the union employees of Metro, many working overnight hours, driving traffic-congested bus routes, and repairing an aging system, need to be partners in arriving at solutions for safety, operations, and costs,” said Schwartz. “It must be all hands on-deck with all sectors contributing.”
“Today, COG made clear that the Metrorail system is our most important regional transportation system,” said Amy Ginsburg, Executive Director of the Friends of White Flint. “Therefore, COG must ensure that their Transportation Planning Board makes full funding of Metro’s ‘state of good repair’ the top priority and baseline for their 2018 update of the region’s Constrained Long Range (Transportation) Plan.”
“Failure is not an option for our Metro, and our groups pledge to campaign for the funding Metro needs,” concluded Schwartz.
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. smartergrowth.net
Friends of White Flint is a nonprofit organization made up of residents, businesses, and property owners who want to create a walkable, vibrant Pike District/White Flint community. whiteflint.org
Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling
The Maryland Center on Economic Policy advances innovative policy ideas to foster broad prosperity and help our state be the standard-bearer for responsible public policy. We engage in research, analysis, strategic communications, public education, and grassroots alliances promoting robust debate and greater public awareness of the policy choices Maryland residents face together. mdeconomy.org
The Montgomery Countryside Alliance promotes sound economic, land-use and transportation policies and programs that preserve the natural environment, open spaces, and rural lands in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve for the benefit of all Washington Metropolitan area residents. mocoalliance.org
Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance (NVAHA) is a broad-based, regional nonprofit organization working to create successful communities through affordable housing education and advocacy. nvaha.org