Government Operations Subcommittee Examined DC Metro Funding, Oversight, and Reform Efforts

Oct 23, 2019
Press Release

Washington D.C. (October 23, 2019)—This week, Rep. Gerry Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, held a hearing on “Metro: Report Card for America’s Subway.”

 

TAKEAWAYS

  • The hearing examined the Metro Accountability and Investment Act (MAIA), which Chairman Connolly introduced to provide WMATA with additional funding to make capital improvements across the Metrorail transit system and ensure that, for the first time, the federal government helps fund daily operations of “America’s Subway.”  Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a cosponsor of MAIA, said: “Metro has created a truly irreplaceable transit network on which the federal government relies every day.”
     
  • Chairman Connolly warned against a “death spiral of disinvestment and declining service” at the transit system that delivers federal civil servants to work each day. He argued for a “carrot and stick approach,” providing additional federal funding to Metro and increased independent oversight.
     
  • Despite national trends showing decreasing ridership of public transport, WMATA recently reported upticks in Metrorail ridership. Members pointed to newer rail cars, on-time trains, and improved customer service as reasons for these increases and encouraged WMATA officials to take steps to continue these positive trends.
     
  • The hearing was the first to examine the newly-certified Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC), which took over safety oversight responsibilities from the Federal Transit Administration in January 2019. Members learned that the WMSC is working to help WMATA prioritize unaddressed safety recommendations and has provided achievable timelines for their implementation.
     
  • Members held Metro officials accountable for recent safety and ethics lapses, including the October 7th collision between two rail cars at Farragut West Station and the inappropriate actions of former Board Chairman Jack Evans. Members voiced concerns that the reforms adopted by the WMATA Board would not address all of the concerns raised by the Evans ethics committee investigation.

 

WITNESSES

Paul Wiedefeld
General Manager and Chief Executive Officer
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

 

Paul Smedberg
Chair
Board of Directors
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
 

Geoffrey Cherrington
Inspector General
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Dr. David L. Mayer
Chief Executive Officer
Washington Metrorail Safety Commission
 

VIDEOS 

Watch Chairman Connolly’s opening statement.

Watch Rep. Norton’s opening statement.

Watch Chairman Connolly’s question line.

Watch Rep. Sarbanes question line. 

 

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Issues: 
116th Congress