Congressional panels OK Metro cash
Two Congressional panels this week passed bills that include $150 million for Washington's aging Metro bus and rail network.
Congress has agreed to provide the transit authority $150 million each year for 10 years to make capital improvements and safety upgrades. The money must be appropriated each year, and the region's governments must provide a $150 million match each year.
The money was included in a House Appropriations Committee bill for transportation, housing and urban development that passed Tuesday and in a Senate subcommittee bill on Wednesday. The recently passed bills include the second installment of the 10-year funding plan. The full Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the transportation subcommittee's bill Thursday.
Metro issued a statement Wednesday night thanking the region's Congressional delegation for its efforts to secure the funding.
"We are committed to working with the senators as well as other members of Congress from this region in order to provide safe and efficient public transportation to the residents and visitors of the nation's capital," Metro said in a statement. "We look forward to working with our delegation in ensuring that these funds are ultimately included in the legislation presented to the president."
Metro said the funds will help the agency replace rail cars, buses and MetroAccess vehicles and upgrade and repair infrastructure, such as escalators and tracks throughout the aging system. As part of the agreement, the federal government also gets to appoint four members to Metro's board of directors.
The transportation bill passed by the House Committee on Appropriations also includes
-- $1.8 billion for Amtrak, including money fleet and station upgrades.
-- $1.3 billion for aviation safety programs to "help meet safety goals established ... in the aftermath of the tragic Colgan air crash."
-- $891 million for traffic safety programs, such as encouraging seat belt use.
-- $50 million for distracted driving prevention.
From the archives: Metro gets federal approval to start improvements and safety upgrades
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