Showdown Over Proposed Service Improvements for D.C. Metro

The state of Virginia won't let Washington Metro increase services that surpass a three percent subsidy cap implemented this summer.

1 minute read

January 3, 2019, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Washington D.C. Metro

Shu-Hung Liu / Shutterstock

Max Smith reports on a looming political battle between the state of Virginia and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) over proposed service increases proposed in a draft released in December 2018 and first discussed in October 2018.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission recently sent a letter to Metro officials warning them about the potential consequences of implementing the service changes:

"While the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission supports efforts to increase ridership, including cheaper unlimited-ride passes, the letter — due to be approved next month — warns proposals to extend trains to provide more service at stations along the Red, Yellow and Green Lines without significant savings elsewhere would run up against a new legal cap on cost growth.

Supporters of the service increases argue that improvements are necessary to attract riders back to the struggling system.

Regarding more details of the proposed service improvements, Smith explains:

The additional weekday service is one of several potential increases next summer, but Metro estimates it would cost $5.4 million on top of other expenses already accounted for in the budget. Other proposals, if the Metro Board can fund them, include $3.6 million to extend all Yellow Line trains to Greenbelt, $1.2 million to run more Red Line trains past Silver Spring to Glenmont, and $10.1 million to continue moving toward more 8-car trains.

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