Connolly, Hoyer, Norton, Sarbanes, Beyer, Raskin, Brown Introduce Metro Accountability and Investment Act
Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) was joined by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Representatives Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Sarbanes (D-MD) Beyer (D-VA), Raskin (D-MD) and Brown (D-MD), in introducing the Metro Accountability and Investment Act. The legislation reauthorizes an existing federal capital funding source for WMATA for ten years and provides new federal capital and operating funds contingent on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) adopting specific Inspector General (IG) reforms as well as meeting metrics for safety, reliability, and operating cost efficiency.
“This consensus-driven, balanced proposal is a step towards restoring Metro to a world-class transit system,” said Connolly. “Metro has made progress and we cannot allow those efforts to stall.”
“Our proposal is clear – the federal government can no longer be a free-rider,” Connolly added. “They are the single biggest beneficiary of Metro. It makes no sense for the local jurisdictions to bear the full cost of operations. This is a down payment recognizing the federal government’s responsibility to ensure our nation’s transit system is safe and reliable.”
“Improving the safety and reliability of the Metro must remain a top priority, which is why we must ensure the system has the resources needed. A dedicated funding source, in addition to yearly federal investments, remains the only way to address the long-term capital needs of Metro,” said Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. “I commend Congressman Connolly for introducing this important legislation, which is yet another critical step in ensuring Metro can regain the trust of its riders.”
“This is a carrot-and-stick approach,” said Connolly. “As Metro adopts accountability, safety, and reliability standards, additional federal funds will be released.”
Under this proposal, WMATA funding under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) would be reauthorized at $2 billion over 10 years beginning in FY2020. $150 million per year would be available for capital expenses contingent upon a 50 percent match from the local jurisdictions. $50 million per year would be for operating expenses, $10 million of which would be dedicated to the WMATA IG. The entire PRIIA grant would be conditioned on WMATA enacting certain reforms that provide the WMATA Office of the Inspector General with the independence and resources it needs to hold the system accountable to safety and professional standards.
The legislation also authorizes two new tranches of federal capital funding for WMATA. The first tranche is $500 million in capital funding over 5 years beginning in FY2020. The first tranche is contingent upon WMATA meeting certain safety, reliability, and operating cost efficiency metrics. The second tranche is $1.5 billion in capital funding over 15 years beginning in FY2025. The second tranche is contingent upon WMATA meeting certain safety, reliability, and operating cost efficiency metrics and the local jurisdictions establishing a dedicated funding source for WMATA.
Text of the Metro Accountability and Investment Act is available here.
A specific Section-by-Section of the bill is available here.