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House Advances Metro Accountability and Investment Act

Today, the House of Representatives advanced the Metro Accountability and Investment Act, legislation authored by Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) that would reauthorize the Passenger Rail Investment Improvement Act (PRIIA) Funding, adopt Metro reforms, and support Inspector General autonomy. The legislation was included in the INVEST Act, and is cosponsored by Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), and Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Don Beyer (D-VA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), and David Trone (D-MD).

“WMATA, like transit agencies across the country, is facing a crisis. As we recover from the pandemic, we need a long-term strategy that ensures Metro is here for future generations. I thank Chairman DeFazio for his leadership and for including the Metro Accountability and Investment Act in today’s transportation package. But our work isn’t done. Now that we finally have a President in the White House who knows the value of transit, and understands the federal government must be a partner in supporting Metro, we have to get this over the finish line,” said Connolly.

The Metro Accountability and Investment Act would reauthorize PRIAA funding for ten years and provide additional federal funding, contingent on safety and oversight reforms, including strengthening the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The legislation also protects important Code of Ethics reforms adopted in April 2019 for the WMATA Board of Directors.

Under the Metro Accountability and Investment Act, WMATA would receive the following annual federal funding allocations:

  • Fiscal Year 2022: $150,000,000
  • Fiscal Year 2023: $155,000,000
  • Fiscal Year 2024: $160,000,000
  • Fiscal Year 2025: $165,000,000
  • Fiscal Year 2026: $170,000,000
  • Fiscal Year 2027: $175,000,000
  • Fiscal Year 2028: $180,000,000
  • Fiscal Year 2029: $185,000,000
  • Fiscal Year 2030: $190,000,000
  • Fiscal Year 2031: $200,000,000

The funding is contingent on the WMATA Board adopting and keeping certain resolutions in effect for the entire funding period. These resolutions would:

  • Establish independent budget authority for the OIG;
  • Establish independent procurement authority for the OIG;
  • Establish independent hiring authority for the OIG;
  • Ensure that the OIG can obtain independent legal advice from a counsel reporting directly to the OIG;
  • Require the OIG to submit recommendations for corrective action to the GM and the Metro Board of Directors;
  • Require the OIG to publish recommendations to its website, with allowances for the removal of personally identifiable information or information that could pose a security risk to Metro systems;
  • Require the Metro Board of Directors to provide written notice to relevant Congressional Committees at least 30 days in advance of the removal of an Inspector General, along with an explanation of reasons for removal and supporting documentation;
  • Prohibit the Board of Directors from removing the Inspector General without a 30 day written notification documenting permanent incapacity, neglect of duty, malfeasance, a conviction of a felony or conduct involving moral turpitude, knowing violation of a law or regulation, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or inefficiency; and
  • Require the Board to keep its new Code of Ethics for Members of the Metro Board, or consult with the OIG on any modifications to the Code of Ethics.

Text of the Metro Accountability and Investment Act is available here.

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