February 16th, 2017 by WCBC Radio
Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) filed legislation today to implement comprehensive reforms to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and increase federal funding for WMATA. Congressman Delaney’s WMATA Improvement Act includes an additional $150 million in annual funding ($75 million from the federal government, $75 million total from the three jurisdictions), provided that WMATA and the member jurisdictions upgrade governance and management and certify that the system’s collective bargaining agreement allows WMATA to improve system safety for riders and employees, reliability and customer service while maintaining key wage protections. If changes are not made within 18 months, Congress withdraws its consent from the WMATA Compact. (Full bill summary below.)
“Metro needs big improvements and riders can’t wait any longer,” said Congressman Delaney. “The problems facing Metro have been widely understood for a very long time and my constituents have endured a long decline in safety, reliability and service. The WMATA Improvement Act tackles the causes of Metro’s decline comprehensively, changing the governance structure so that a new culture can be created and providing additional funding. This legislation removes the brakes that have held back reform for too long. We give the jurisdictions a powerful two-pronged incentive – more funding coupled with a ticking clock on the Compact – to take two necessary actions: create a world-class Board of Directors for Metro comprised of experts with a fiduciary responsibility and make sure that management-labor provisions allow the system to perform better and become safer for everyone. As someone who represents thousands of Marylanders who depend upon Metro I believe that Congress cannot consent to a broken Metro forever and if these changes are not met we should withdraw from the Compact.”
In the last three weeks over 1700 Metro riders participated in Congressman Delaney’s Metro survey, overwhelmingly stressing that Metro needs to improve. Only 25% of respondents stated that in the last year Metro has improved.