Alliance: Major Reforms Necessary to Restore Metro to World-Class Status
In a letter to WMATA Board Chairman Jack Evans, the Alliance praised the work of Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld through SafeTrack and other measures to improve safety and reliability, but emphasized that restoring Metrorail to a world-class system “cannot occur without fundamental Compact, management, and labor reforms.”
The Alliance noted that many of today’s problems can be traced back nearly two decades when the then-General Manager’s warning of an eventual death spiral without significant greater investment in system rehabilitation and reform went unheeded.
The Alliance stated that it generally supports requiring riders to pay their fair share of Metro’s operating costs. However, given that riders currently pay some of the nation’s highest fares and the system’s general unreliability, higher fares are unjustifiable at this time. It also expressed concern that without major changes, service cuts would be a standard component of future budgets.
The letter pointed out that the Alliance was the first private sector organization to call for new sustainable Metro funding but that “new regional and federal funding are unlikely absent significant reforms. The longer such reforms are postponed the burden on local entities is likely to grow and Metro service and ridership to decline.”
The Alliance called for “governance by a smaller board with sole responsibility and accountability for the sound management, operation and maintenance of our regional transit system.”
The Alliance letter concluded, “The sooner state and area officials join together to enact major reforms the sooner WMATA will have the management, operational and funding it needs to re-earn the trust of its riders and general public.”