Maryland, D.C., Virginia Send Joint Letter to President-Elect Calling for Additional Federal Funding for WMATA
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam today urged the incoming Biden-Harris administration to provide increased federal support for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The leaders met yesterday afternoon to discuss regional issues, including the COVID-19 response.
In a letter to President-elect Joe Biden, the leaders urge the president-elect to commit to making the federal government a fourth partner in WMATA funding.
“We strongly believe that maintaining a safe and reliable public transit system for the nation’s capital is a national priority and should be treated in that way,” the leaders write. “WMATA serves as a linchpin to federal government operations, yet the lack of a federal contribution for operating WMATA fails to reflect this fact…We encourage the Biden-Harris administration to renew the federal government’s commitment to Metro’s future and strongly consider joining the three jurisdictions as our fourth partner in funding WMATA’s operations.”
The leaders highlighted WMATA’s financial challenges resulting from the pandemic. “Without additional federal support, WMATA faces major budget shortfalls that will force layoffs and additional service interruptions, further hindering our region’s economic recovery…When pandemic relief funding runs out, WMATA will be forced to make draconian service cuts and eliminate more than 3,800 positions. This is more than one-third of its workforce, when combined with this year’s layoffs.”
In addition to the president-elect, the letter is copied to Transportation Secretary-designate Pete Buttigieg, and members of the Biden-Harris transition team.