Washington, D.C. — Kevin DeGood, Director, Infrastructure Policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement today after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or WMATA, announced its “SafeTrack” plan, which will involve months of track shutdowns and single-tracking for Washington’s Metro system.
WMATA’s announcement today underscores the difficult but necessary steps the agency must take to ensure passenger safety and system reliability of Washington’s Metro system for years to come. Importantly, Metro is not alone in facing serious challenges from aging infrastructure. According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, transit operators face a repair and replacement backlog of $86 billion, including everything from buses and train cars to power systems, tracks, and communications equipment, among other needs.
Congress has consistently failed to provide the funding needed to support transit in metropolitan regions. The result is poor service for riders and congestion for drivers. Transit shutdowns and single-tracking are not just about delays for riders but also have a major economic impact: Texas A&M University estimates that urban area roadway congestion will cost our economy $160 billion this year alone. Failing to invest is public transportation is short-sighted—and the time has come for Congress to act as a real partner to WMATA and providers across the country.
Related resource: Pains, Trains, and Automobiles During the D.C. Metrorail Shutdown by Andrew Schwartz
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at email@example.com or 202.478.6331.