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Why DC’s Metro Subway System Is Failing

One of the central destructive beliefs of right wingers is that the Government is evil. That and that somehow you can tax cut your way out of debt. That is about as stupid as saying I am jobless, so I don’t need my computer and the Internet. When Republicans control the House, which appropriates all the monies to run the Government – bad things happen. Having an inborn and irrational hatred of DC, that means that cuts and services to the region tend to go to hell in a handbasket.

One of the original designs for the DC Metro included Red Cars

The METRO Subway system is the second largest in the United States behind that of New York City. It carries 800,000 Passengers a day. 53% of those riders are Federal employees, and as such, the system is crucial to the day to day operation of the Federal Government, which actually “leases” all the Federal Grounds, including that of the White House, Capitol, Mall, and Federal Buildings in lieu of paying Taxes for city maintenance of roads, sewer, water, and City Services (Police/Fire). There is no Federal Fire and Rescue, although there are about 25,000 Federal “Police” of different types in the City – making the City have the highest number of Police per capita in the US…And perhaps the world. There are 28 separate police departments in DC, only 4 of which belong to the city.

 

  • DC Metropolitan PD (MPD)
  • US Marshals (DOJ)
  • DC Dept of Corrections
  • DC Public Library Police
  • DC Housing Authority Police
  • Metro Transit Police
  • Washington National Cathedral Police (one of my personal favorites)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Was…
  • DC Protective Services (another interesting agency http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dis…)
  • US Capitol Police
  • US Secret Service – Uniformed Division
  • Supreme Court Police
  • US Park Police
  • Bureau of Engraving and Printing Police
  • US Mint Police
  • Smithsonian Police
  • US State Dept Diplomatic Security Service
  • NCIS
  • Army Criminal Investigative Command
  • USAF Office of Special Investigation
  • US Coast Guard Investigative Service
  • US Postal Inspectors
  • FBI Police
  • Federal Protective Service (DHS)
  • Government Printing Office (GPO) Police
  • ATF
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • DEA
  • Military Police

When there is a Republican majority in the House, there is a constant effort to submarine this system of payments, which includes payments to the METRO System to provide services supporting Federal Agencies. A number of the Subway stops on the METRO are where they are, specifically to serve clusters of Federal Buildings. which doesn’t get into all the special services provided to support Inaugurations, the Capitol security and Homeland.

There has been a Republican majority in the House since 2010

This doesn’t let systemic mismanagement at Metro off the hook – but is part (a BIG part) of the problem.

Congress to D.C.: We won’t ‘bail out’ Metro

House lawmakers made it clear that Congress won’t be cutting big checks to help the struggling transit agency.

Congress won’t be cutting big checks anytime soon to help D.C.’s troubled Metro system cover its operating costs, House lawmakers warned Wednesday.

A number of the 45 year old 1000 Series Cars are still running awaiting replacement

“I tell you: I am not going to bail you out,” shouted Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of a House Oversight transportation panel, during a hearing about the sometimes life-threatening safety and maintenance woes that forced a daylong shutdown of Metro’s rail system last month. He ripped into Metro officials, saying they had millions of dollars in funding on-hand but didn’t spend it as needed.

Virginia Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly fired back at Mica for trying to pin Metro’s financial burden on D.C., Maryland and Virginia, which help pay for the system’s operations. He noted the system’s benefit to the federal government.

“He says he doesn’t want a burden on his people,” Connolly said. “Well, I don’t want a burden on mine.”

At the hearing, Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans pleaded with lawmakers to boost their contribution to the beleaguered system’s operations account, which lacks a steady funding stream despite sprawling over three jurisdictions. Evans says the feds should contribute $300 million annually for operational needs.

The new 7000 Series cars feature better seating, more handholds for standing passengers, easily replaceable flooring, and a number of electronic features, Deploying them to replace the 50 year old original cars has been held up by budgeting.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has received congressional appropriations for capital projects since 2008, in addition to grant money from the Federal Transit Administration for upgrades, but typically gets no funding for running the system aside from fare revenues and its state and local government support.

Mica said Metro’s unliquidated balance as of mid-March was $783 million. WMATA officials couldn’t immediately verify that number.

Local lawmakers have generally trod carefully when talking about Congress’ role in boosting WMATA’s accounts, saying the agency should demonstrate a better safety record and command of its finances before getting more money from them. Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, has been key to securing $150 million annually since 2008 for capital projects at Metro, but the money can’t be used for operating expenses.

“When you do the math, your United States Senate and the taxpayers of America have provided over $1 billion for Metro,” Mikulski said Wednesday at a meeting with Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld before the House hearing. “So we not only want to know if we’ll be getting our money’s worth, but we really do care about the constituents and the riders — about what is going on.”

Evans said Metro’s high operating costs are in part due to its size — it’s the second-largest transit system in the United States. If Congress doesn’t increase its commitment to Metro, he said, “next time something happens, I’m blaming it on you guys.”

Referring to Mica’s complaint about nearly $800 million of unspent money, Wiedefeld said Metro can be under contract to receive major purchases — such as new buses or rail cars — and the cash doesn’t immediately flow out if, for example, it’s still waiting to receive the products. So the money has been obligated for specific projects.

“I just would urge you quickly to help dispel this myth of, you’re sitting on a lot of capital and you don’t know what to do with it,” Connolly said.

 

 

 

 

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