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Senate Approves Metro Funding

The U.S. Senate voted moments ago to authorize long-sought federal funding for Washington's cash-strapped and aging Metro system, clearing a major hurdle toward providing $1.5 billion over 10 years to help maintain the nation's second-largest transit agency.

The Senate passage is the furthest the measure has advanced since Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) began the effort two years ago to secure a reliable source of financial support for Metro.

The bill, part of a major rail safety reform package, was passed by the House last week and now goes to the president for signing. Supporters say a veto is unlikely, partly because of the veto-proof margin of last night's 74 to 24 vote.

-- Lena H. Sun

By Frank Ahrens  |  October 1, 2008; 8:48 PM ET
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700 billion for Wall Street, another 160 billion in "sweeteners", and 1.5 billion for Metro. Congress must be really flush with cash. Not.

Posted by: Tupac Goldstein | October 1, 1908 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Public transportation rocks!

Posted by: Aaron B.I.G. | October 1, 1908 9:02 PM | Report abuse

McCain voted, "no" on the Amtrak and railway safety programs bill an hour ago.I had heard that he was against public transportation. Is this man for anything to do with citizens? All he cares about is corporate welfare and markets. MCCain did say he is the biggest free marketer in America. Sad.

Posted by: TeddyOhio | October 1, 1908 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Do you think that with the 1.5B from the American taxpayer, we can ask WDC to do away with the insulting plates that say taxation without representation and just ask (not require) metro employees to actually use CONSONANTS when they speak? It would be refreshing to see a Metro employee actually thank a rider once in a while too (that may be too much, actually).

Posted by: Captain Kangaroo | October 1, 1908 9:03 PM | Report abuse

How did this get around Coburn's filibuster rules?

Posted by: Dan | October 1, 1908 9:08 PM | Report abuse

you want to be thanked for riding metro? spoiled brat.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 1908 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm a rare visitor to Washington, but Metro certainly looks as though it needs more than $150 million a year in investment.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | October 1, 1908 9:11 PM | Report abuse

whats insulting is being granted those rights which are convenient for those who don't even live here, and denied the most BASIC voting rights.

and some people dont have time to learn "proper" english, we're too busy doing all the work.

stay in VA and keep voting republican.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 1908 9:14 PM | Report abuse

This is a vote I can get behind. Metro is underfunded, and without improving it, the DC area will end up in gridlock more and more. Not to mention, supporting Metro is the green thing to do.

Posted by: saracooper | October 1, 1908 9:16 PM | Report abuse

McCain is truly a selfish knucklehead to vote against public transportation. Dollars for death in war, but not for life and getting people to save energy. No wonder the US is twisted up in knots, with moron politicians like that living in the dark ages, what kind of quality of life can people expect here.

Posted by: Paul Nolan | October 1, 1908 9:18 PM | Report abuse

If you want the "taxation without representation" insult tags to go away, support elected representatives for the people. The fact that no voting senator or congressman is elected bt the people of DC is the larger insult, by far.

Posted by: A government by the people | October 1, 1908 9:19 PM | Report abuse

While its nice we can all have a local view of things - what if this was for New York City? Or Houston? Or Denver? The same posters would be screaming about using our tax dollars to fix their system.

$1.5 billion in taxpayer money to fix a transit system that cant even keep its own house in order. The same s

Posted by: DC | October 1, 1908 9:21 PM | Report abuse

>>the insulting plates that say taxation without representation

And why is that insulting? It's a statement of fact that most Americans don't realize--that those of us who pay federal taxes while living in the Nation's Capital have NO voting representation in Congress. Most are shocked when they learn that.

Posted by: Ingmar | October 1, 1908 9:22 PM | Report abuse

The same system that just last week revealed they've spent tens of millions on software for the SmartTrip cards that doesnt work and wont work for at least another year.

By all means though, Congress should keep writing checks our kids are going to have to make good on.

Posted by: DC | October 1, 1908 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was just a buy out? I should have known better!

Posted by: Honest | October 1, 1908 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Who's going to bail out the bail out?

Are we not in this mess because too many Americans are in debt? What about the governments debt? Will we ever learn?

Posted by: Just look the other way | October 1, 1908 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Captain Kangaroo:

Metro is the only public transit system in the country that doesn't have a dedicated source of funding. It isn't plausible that a rail system can break even based on fares alone--the Subway in NY is heavily subsidized, and that is a key to its success.

For those that think that it should have to break even on its own (cough Coburn cough), just ask yourself how many toll booths you throw coins into when driving on the roads in your neighborhood, or when you cross state lines. The roads are wholly funded by taxpayers--both federal and state based.

One of the big reasons that Metro doesn't have a dedicated source is because jackasses representing states in Congress have decided that we shouldn't be able to tax ourselves to fund such a horrible, non-car based system.

So thanks to those in Congress for actually doing something that helps the District, and something which the majority of the residents of the District actually need. Rather than the long line of wonderful ideas that those freedom-loving patriots in the heartland feel that we in the District should have poured down our throats--like cuts in HIV education and lifting bans on assault weapons.

After all, we are some of the most heavily taxed people in the country, but unlike those in states like Alaska, the amount of money that comes back to the District is far under what we provide to you all.

Cheers from the Colony of DC!

Posted by: Indentured Resident | October 1, 1908 9:44 PM | Report abuse

It always takes a National Disaster,
(That was Avoidable) to make congress
do their job and put safeguards into
place. Is this happening, because citizens
are sheep, and avail themselves to crisis
management ?? Or is it that Washington
power Brokers won't move an inch, until
they get some grease. Either way, this
country's strong foundation is built on
response to Crisis.

Posted by: Backspan | October 1, 1908 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, Bravo. Metro is by far one of the best local transit rail systems in the US. Yes it's over capacity, but no one thought it would ever reach the ridership levels it has. The platforms need expanding, the hub/spoke must be revised with added links, etc.

Too bad there are short-sighted people that are unable to see the huge benefits the region has had because of Metro.

We are fortunate to have this transportation alternative.

Posted by: Regional Commuter | October 1, 1908 10:16 PM | Report abuse

>While its nice we can all have a local view of things - what if this was for New York City? Or Houston? Or Denver? The same posters would be screaming about using our tax dollars to fix their system.

The difference is that in none of those cities does the federal government own (and pay no taxes on) the most desirable land. If the District was able to collect taxes on that land, they would be in a better position to fund Metro. This is their way of making up for that lack of property tax income.


Posted by: Arlington | October 1, 1908 10:22 PM | Report abuse

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