Public Transit

Metro Seeks Stable Federal Funding as States Set to Pony Up
Plan could hit a stumbling block in President Donald Trump, who has proposed deep cuts

A WMATA Metro Red Line Metro train pulls into Metro Center in Washington in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After years of inconsistent funding and budget shortfalls, the Washington Metro is finally on track to get a boost in funding in fiscal 2019 from the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland, which would clear the way for the transit system to pursue federal dollars.

The District and its two neighbors would increase the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s fiscal 2019 funding by $126 million over the current $374 million if legislation is enacted in all three jurisdictions. Once those funds are approved, WMATA will also look to continue current federal funding at $150 million per year for the next 10 years, spokeswoman Sherri Ly confirmed Thursday. 

Whiplashed Planners Fear GOP Swerve on Infrastructure
After close call on public-private financing tool, all eyes on 2018

Private activity bonds, or PABs, are fueling a multibillion-dollar expansion of Los Angeles International Airport. (Courtesy LAXDevelopment.org)

Los Angeles has gained national notice for a series of ambitious projects affecting all facets of southern California’s transportation network, from the city’s light rail system to Los Angeles International Airport.

Many of the projects — a multibillion dollar expansion of the airport, work on roads leading to and from the busy ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and a new light rail line, among others — were or will be financed with a tool called private activity bonds.

Metro to Nats Fans: You're Out!
Transit system won't lift late-night moratorium for playoff baseball

The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority issued its “SafeTrack” plan to improve reliability and safety in Washington’s public transit system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Washington Metro can take Washington Nationals fans out to the ball game Thursday night, but leaving may be another matter. The agency is sticking to its plan not to provide late-night service as part of its 10-month maintenance overhaul.

Despite pressure from the District of Columbia Council, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said Wednesday it will not lift its late-night service moratorium to accommodate fans attending the Nationals playoff game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Games have tended to last close to four hours. Metro says most service will cease by 11:45 p.m. and one southbound train will be available after midnight.

Metro Adds Weekend Shutdowns to Maintenance Plan
Updates to the existing overhaul include more station closures

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority continues its "Safe Track" plan to improve reliability and safety in Washington's public transit system into 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Washington Metro will close rail stations over eight upcoming weekends as it expands its maintenance overhaul after federal authorities criticized the agency for a July derailment, Metro said Tuesday.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, as Metro is formally known, extended the current Red Line surge, originally scheduled to end Thursday, through the weekend. While weekday service has been reduced by single-tracking, four stations on the western end of the line — White Flint, Twinbrook, Rockville and Shady Grove — will close Saturday and Sunday, Metro said in a news release.

Senators take Metro, too
Sens. Heinrich and Murphy endure delays, crowding like everyone else during daily commutes

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) rides the Metro home from the Capitol last week (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Repairs to the troubled D.C. Metro rail system are testing the patience of commuters this summer, but Capitol Hill staffers and interns must still squeeze on those trains to get to work and some of their bosses are right there with them.  

On any given morning on the Red Line platform at Union Station, you can find Sens. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut . They're not giving up on the nation's second-largest subway system despite age — it's officially middle age — service interruptions, delays, and crowding.  

Treasury Secretary Pushes for Vote on Puerto Rico
McConnell sets cloture vote for Wednesday

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew wants the Senate to act on Puerto Rico legislation before July 1. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew is pushing the Senate to take up a House-passed compromise measure this week to address the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico.  

"The Senate should take up the matter immediately. Delay will only jeopardize the ability of Congress to conclude its work before July 1, a critical deadline Puerto Rico's leadership has publicly highlighted for months," Lew wrote Monday in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.  

DC Metro Gets More Bad News
House Republicans plan no increase in funding for transit system beset by rail safety problems

Republicans on a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee said Metro officials have not prioritized the maintenance of the Washington's public transit system. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Metro can't look to Congress for near-term funding help as the Washington transit system battles long-standing operational and safety problems, at least until it can demonstrate it’s effectively using the federal money it already receives, Republicans said Tuesday.

Missouri Rep. Sam Graves, chairman of the Highways and Transit subcommittee, said at a hearing that Metro has failed for decades to transition from prioritizing the building of its rail system to safely maintaining it.

Congress Caught Unaware of Metro Shutdown
Local rail suspended for service-wide inspection

Connolly and other members who represent large swaths of the federal workforce are trying to figure out how to get people to work on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members of Congress didn't seem to get a heads-up about Wednesday's shutdown of the D.C. Metro rail system for an emergency safety inspection, with some learning about it as they went to vote late Tuesday.  

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who sleeps in his office when in town, was surprised to learn of the decision by the regional transportation agency that oversees Metro following a fire in a subway tunnel that snarled the morning rush for thousands of commuters on Monday.