WMATA Approved Buyouts and Service Reductions

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority couldn't wait for a still hypothetical bailout from Congress or the Biden administration.

2 minute read

November 24, 2020, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Coronavirus and Transportation

Nicole Glass Photography / Shutterstock

The board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) approved service cuts and an employee buyout plan to address the system's $176 million budget shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic, report Justin George.

"The agency will offer retirement-eligible employees $15,000 to leave in hopes that several hundred workers will accept the incentive — part of an effort to shed 1,400 jobs," according to George. Metro's biggest employee union objected to the buyout plan, hoping the WMATA would wait until the Biden administration was in a position to deliver on promises to fund public transit.

As for the changes approved for service on the WMATA system, George offers this summary: "Among the changes that will begin around January are less-frequent train service on weekdays and the reinstatement of fares on Metrobuses."

"Service cuts will not include closing Metrorail two hours earlier, which was part of the agency’s initial plan. The agency also will not cut back on station managers or reduce the number of trains serving the Maryland suburbs. Metro decided to pull back on those proposals after receiving more than 5,000 public comments and because its financial outlook has improved since September."

The WMATA is far from alone in the fiscal crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. News coverage earlier this month revealed plans for more than 9,000 layoffs and a 40 percent reduction in subway service at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Thursday, November 19, 2020 in The Washington Post

Three colorful, large beachfront homes, one khaki, one blue, and one yellow, with a small dune in front and flat sand in foreground.

Florida Homeowners 'Nope Out' of Beach Restoration Over Public Access

The U.S. Corps of Engineers and Redington Shores, Florida are at a standstill: The Corps won’t spend public money to restore private beaches, and homeowners are refusing to grant public access to the beaches behind their home in return for federal assistance.

June 7, 2024 - Grist

Multistory apartment building under construction.

New Tennessee Law Allows No-Cost Incentives for Affordable Housing

Local governments in the Volunteer State can now offer developers incentives like increased density, lower parking requirements, and priority permitting for affordable housing projects.

June 10, 2024 - Nooga Today

Pumping Gas

10 States Where the Gas Tax Is Highest

As the gap between gas tax revenue and transportation funding needs widen across the country, the funding mechanism is drawing increased scrutiny from both public officials and consumers.

June 9, 2024 - The Ascent

Concrete walkway with landscaping, decorative tiles, and picnic tables in a Los Angeles County park.

Wish Granted: Former Brownfield Transformed to New Park

Wishing Tree Park in West Carson, California officially opened last month, replacing a brownfield site with a much-needed green space for recreation and respite.

June 14 - Urbanize LA

"No right turn on red" and "Turning vehicles yield to pedestrians" sign.

The Tide is Turning on Right Turns on Red

The policy, which stems from the gas embargo of the 1970s, makes intersections more dangerous for pedestrians.

June 14 - NPR

Thick green forest on edge of lake in Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville Begins Process to Clean Superfund Site

A public forest is home to dozens of barrels that have been leaking toxic materials for decades.

June 14 - Inside Climate News

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.