The date for the action is February 11 from 10:30-11:30am and from 12:30-1:15pm.
Metro is the nation’s only major transit system that does not receive significant revenue through a tax or other earmarked source. That means it has to seek subsidies every year from multiple jurisdictions, which makes it difficult to make long-term plans. Metro riders experience this as delays and outages. Others experience more traffic congestion as riders abandon Metro.
The Earth Ethics Team will have an action table on Metro. It will be an opportunity for you to contact your state or DC government officials to ask that they provide a dependable and reliable source of funding for Metro. Each jurisdiction has a role in making Metro whole again.
Metro (formally the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority – WMATA) is severely underfunded. Yet nearly hundreds of thousands of our neighbors depend upon it. As Robert McCartney noted in a recent article in the Washington Post “Metro is the only major transit system that does not receive a significant portion of its funding from a tax or other dedicated source of revenue.” Metro depends upon funding from 4 jurisdictions: Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and the federal government. This underfunding shortchanges maintenance, service, and safety. We even see it every time we use Metro as old cars with stained carpets and shabby stations. This leads to fewer riders and lower fare revenues, further starving Metro of the ability to improve service and reliability, a downward cycle. Former riders will drive causing greater traffic congestion.
Nationally, transportation is the number one source of climate warming greenhouse gases and a major source of local health-destroying air pollution. Strengthened transit along with good sidewalks and bicycling lanes are effective solutions. Electric vehicles can also help although they don’t address the vexing challenge of traffic congestion. The Sierra Club has made this legislation one of its top priority bills in Maryland and Virginia.
Maryland is considering using existing transportation funds. The bills to do this in the current session which ends in the middle of April are HB0372 / SB0277. These bills will provide at least a $125M annual grant to WMATA. The bill is contingent upon Metro receiving similar funding from the 3 other jurisdictions. Maryland residents can contact their state legislators in support of these bills. You can find your MD legislator here: http://mdelect.net/
Virginia is considering doing this through tax increases on real estate, hotel stays, and gasoline in the Virginia jurisdictions close to DC. State delegate Watts proposed HB 1545 for this funding, but this bill may no longer be active. Virginia residents can contact their state delegates and senators in support of increased Metro funding. You can find your VA legislator here: http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/
The District of Columbia council member Evans proposed a 0.75% special sales tax for their portion of Metro funding. District residents can contact their council members to express their support for any measure that would provide adequate Metro funding. See http://dccouncil.us for contact information.