Metro Reform: Bill Signings Mark Turn to Accountability and Sustainability

With the District, Maryland and Virginia having sanctioned dedicated new funding for Metro, the Federal City Council (FC2) shifts its attention to securing necessary reforms in governance to ensure Metro’s long-term sustainability.

“We are working to realize our goal of bringing better governance to Metro,” says Anthony Williams, FC2 Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director. “We’re in discussions right now with the District and more broadly Maryland and Virginia to provide the accountability and transparency to ensure these funds get put into place and get to their intended destination.”

In April, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed into law legislation to commit the state to an additional $167 million, which was required by the Metro funding formula. District Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a bill into law in March that provides $178.5 million, the District’s formula-based share.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to sign legislation soon providing its formula-based share of $154 million. Northam is still working with lawmakers to finalize how funding for the bill will be allocated between Northern Virginia and the rest of the state.

The challenge going forward is to ensure that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) delivers the outcomes from this supplementary funding, keeping its promises to elected officials and the public. The system needs to be improved, which is why the FC2 continues to press for enhanced accountability.

The MetroNow Coalition, of which FC2 is a leading member, is working through the summer and the fall to urge leaders in each jurisdiction to work together to approve reasonable governance reform proposals—many of which were advanced during winter legislative sessions but weren’t approved.

The $500 million in new funding—a number agreed on by WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments—is needed to avoid further deterioration of service, safety and reliability.