Metro Call to Action
Stewart Schwartz, Coalition for Smarter Growth 703-599-6437, firstname.lastname@example.org
Edith Snyder, League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area (LWVNCA), 703-618-1642, email@example.com
Ronit Aviva Dancis, Action Committee for Transit 240-432-9917, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Alpert, Greater Greater Washington 202-596-9449, email@example.com
Fund-it/Fix-it Coalition of non-profits responds to LaHood report on WMATA
Washington, DC -- Today the Fund-it/Fix-It Coalition, a group of non-profits representing smart growth, conservation, transit, and civic groups across the Washington DC region responded to the LaHood report on WMATA funding and reform, which was leaked over the weekend to The Washington Post.
"We are very pleased with a number of aspects of the LaHood report, particularly the strong endorsement of the importance of at least an additional $500 million in dedicated and bondable funding for Metro," said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. "We agree, too, with Secretary LaHood that dedicated federal funding is necessary and appropriate, given the large share of federal riders and the critical role Metro plays in supporting our nation's capital and the federal government."
"We wish Secretary LaHood had lent his personal authority to recommending specific funding sources that the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia should tap or develop, to add impetus to efforts to reach agreement on funding," said Kathy McGuire, President of the League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area (LWVNCA). "We hope LaHood will share his recommendations in this regard because we need to break the logjam and identify funding sources that can be approved in early 2018."
"We find it helpful that the LaHood team has evaluated the cost structure at WMATA and found it comparable to the averages for large transit systems across the country," said Ronit Dancis for Action Committee for Transit. "This system + so essential to the economic competitiveness and sustainability of our region, is worthy of increased investment to restore it to world-class service."
"A concern involves the evaluation of bus service and recommendations for service cuts. The report appears to treat Metrorail and Metrobus very differently, favoring efforts to increase rail ridership, but proposing reductions in bus service," said Schwartz. "Certainly, we should work to make bus service better and provide high frequency, high-ridership service, but we also have many transit-dependent riders who live in suburban settings where it is hard to provide efficient transit service. This means we will need to provide transit coverage, which may be less efficient but represents an essential public utility service, much like water, police, and fire service."
David Alpert, Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington added, "There's no need to recommend cutting bus service and reducing riders to save money. It's possible to improve service AND save money. The biggest opportunities to improve bus service and save money come from reducing delays. Buses spend time in traffic, waiting at lights, waiting for people to pay their fares one by one, and so on. If the buses, especially the high-ridership ones, had dedicated lanes through congested areas, ways to pay before boarding so people can get on quickly, and signal priority to get more green lights, buses could finish their routes faster, saving money, and offering better -- not worse -- service."
The groups in the Fund-it/Fix-it Coalition have pledged to campaign for dedicated funding for Metro with a goal of winning new dedicated, bondable funding in 2018 in order to restore Metrorail and Metrobus with frequent, safe, and reliable service.
22 groups have signed on to this statement of principles but the following are those that have had an opportunity to review the LaHood report:
Action Committee for Transit
The Central Maryland Transportation Alliance
Clean Water Action
Coalition for Smarter Growth
Friends of White Flint
Greater Greater Washington
League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area (LWVNCA)
We are working with a larger coalition on this issue the Coalition for Smarter Growth.
NOW TAKE ACTION
Get the facts on the issue, scroll down on this page and read some of the articles and reports on the subject.
LWVNCA Position on which we take action
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Now is the time to contact your representatives in your local jurisdiction, state delegation and at the federal level to remind them of the importance of Metro to the regional economy.
Some 40 years after the League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area (LWVNCA) adopted positions in support of Metro, including a dedicated source of funding for the then-new rapid transit system, it has joined with more than a dozen nonprofit organizations in backing a call for dedicated funding for the system. While a major emphasis of the original positions was to get people out of their cars, along with the need for adequate financing, the current emphasis is to obtain the funding that will allow Metro to fix the system so that it will continue to reduce traffic congestion in the DC area--while serving as the economic engine for the region.
A major impetus for action to solve Metro's funding crisis has been the recent studies and reports issued by major components of the civic structure in the region addressing both the problem and proposed solutions. These include: the Council of Governments, business groups, chief administrative officers of local jurisdictions, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation Transit Capital Project Revenue Advisory Board as well as support from regional faith groups, the Coalition for Smarter Growth, environmental groups, etc. As the heading for a recent article by Greater Washington noted, "Almost everyone agrees WMATA needs funding." At this time (when writing), there is major anticipation of the results of a review by the LaHood Commission initiated by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and of an August 28th summit at Mt. Vernon where Governors McAuliffe (VA) and Larry Hogan (MD) and District Mayor Muriel Bowser will discuss how to fund Metro.
Not waiting for agreement on the amount of funding required to get Metro healthy and keep it that way, or the specific methods to be used to obtain the revenue, the League and other groups are moving ahead with plans to generate support for whatever plans are eventually proposed for adoption by the three WMATA jurisdictions (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia + DMV)
LWVNCA Metro Funding Action Co-Chair Edith Snyder represented the LWV in an August 18 webinar on Metro hosted by the Virginia Conservation Network in conjunction with the Coalition for Smarter Growth. "Metro 101: Building the Conservation Case for a Strong Metro System in Virginia" tied climate change to the transportation sector, underscoring the critical importance of accessible public transportation throughout the Commonwealth. Stewart Schwartz and Pete Tomao of the Coalition for Smarter Growth provided background on the connection between climate and transportation in Virginia and detailed the ways in which Metro, in particular, is currently underfunded and in dire need of repairs.
Snyder, Co-chair with Nancy Soreng of LWVNCA's committee, described for the webinar attendees the League's long-time commitment to Metro. "The League supported the system when it was first proposed and constructed, and we're not about to abandon it now," she said. Snyder noted that the League of Women Voters will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020 and that it is an organization built on grassroots advocacy. It is this legacy that LWVNCA and its member local Leagues in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are bringing to activities in support of the Metro funding needed to provide frequent, reliable service. In particular, the regional League is:
LWVNCA is asking that all LWV members in Virginia support both the call for approval of a method of funding Metro's capital and operating needs and for transit throughout the Commonwealth, because all are affected by its economic, social, and environmental benefits.
11.26.2017 WaPo How-Metro-can-recapture-some-of-the-value-it-creates
11.22.2017 RTD Yes-Virginia-we-need-a-functioning DC Metro
10.14.2017 CETUSNEWS.com Gerry-Connolly-joins-Gov--Hogan-in-urging-ouster-of-Metro-board-chair-Jack-Evans
10.8.2017 WaPo Opinion The-real-cause-of-Metros-troubles
10.7.2017 WMATA Metro Back 2 Good
10.6.2017 WAMU Lahood-metro-board-no-offense-time-go
10.2.2017 WTOP New-survey-reveals-Virginias-metro-riders
9.28.2017 Inside NOVA Leaders-seek-Metro-funding-education-reform-better-housing
9.24.2017 Washington business Journal Now-Metro-is-jumping-into-the-hq2-competition
9.20.2017 WAMU Whats-next-metro-funding
9.20.2017 WAMU What's Next for Metro Funding
9.15.2017 WaPo Virginia-gets-more-from-metro-than-it-gives
8.28.2017 Washington Business Journal New analysis says Metro sales tax would unfairly burden poor families, suggests new tax on businesses
8.28.2017 WTOP DC mayor and Md., Va. governors meet for Metro, local issues
8.26.2017 WaPo The District's death wish for Metro
8.13.2017 WTOP Plan to fix Metro soon to be public
8.12.2017 Frederick News Post Regional leaders will discuss Metro funding
8.11.2017 Loudoun Times Loudoun leaders pitch alternative Metro funding plan to rival regional sales tax proposal
7.19.2017 WTOP Metro funding fight continues with new Loudoun Co. proposal
7.6.2017 Inside NoVa Arlington Sun Gazette editorial Finances must be first step in Metro reform
6.27.2017 Greater, Greater Washington Almost everyone agrees WMATA needs funding
6.23.2017 WAMU Metro At A Crossroads Which Way Will Riders Go
6.22.2017 WTOP 7 things to know about the upcoming Metro fare hikes
6.21.2017 WTOP 6 things to know about Metro's new hours
6.21.2017 Wash Times Metro's proposed reforms approved
6.16.2017 Coalition for Smarter Growth 4 new reports, 1 struggling Metro system
4.26.2017 Smarter Growth.net Regional groups respond to MWCOG report and call for dedicated funding for Metro
4.20.2017 WTOP What you need to know about Metro GM's plan to fund transit
3.9.2017 GGWash.org Metro's 7000 series cars are starting to prove their worth
1979 LWV Chronological History of WMATA