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Members to D.C. Metro Manufacturer: Don’t Make Us Look Bad

Connolly rode the 7000-series train in April. Beyer and Comstock were also along for the ride. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In an effort to keep funding and confidence in the system secure, a bipartisan group of D-M-V lawmakers are asking the manufacturer of Metro's new trains to provide regular updates to the system regarding production of the next-generation cars.  

The 7000-series car, which now operates on the Red, Orange, Blue and Green lines, has had issues with metal curing, car assembly and IT systems, according to a letter members sent to Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries. “Any delay in delivery of the cars would undermine our efforts to keep this funding on track,” House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Reps. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., Don Beyer Jr., D-Va., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Barbara Comstock, R-Va., Donna Edwards, D-Md., John Delaney, D-Md., John Sarbanes, D-Md., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., wrote on Feb. 10.  

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, the lawmakers wrote, provided $150 million in annual capital funding to Metro over 10 years to support these cars. Those funds are matched by $50 million from Virginia, Maryland and D.C., individually.  

“The federal funding is appropriated annually, and our delegation has led efforts to protect these dollars in the face of recent attacks from members of Congress who do not support this critical transit investment,” they wrote.  

Kawasaki delivered the first 7000-series cars to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority on Jan. 6, 2014. Members are calling on the company to resolve all issues “so that production can resume and the delivery of cars can return to the anticipated schedule.”  

In July, WMATA asked Kawasaki for 220 more 7000-series cars, an approximately $400 million order. The cars are scheduled for delivery between 2018 and 2019.  

The original base contract was for 64 7000-series cars in 2010. Now, the total number of these cars ordered is 748, at a total value of $1.47 billion.  

The new 7000-series cars are being manufactured in Nebraska.

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