Congress needs to pass a stimulus package with $32 billion in emergency operations funds for transit agencies across the country. Send a quick email to your Representative and Senators using this campaign set up by our colleagues at The Coalition for Smarter Growth.
Once we have widespread access to a COVID vaccine and our region fully re-opens, we need a transit system that works, for all who need it, when they need it. On top of that, more people staying at home during the pandemic has highlighted how much individual vehicles contribute to air pollution. A well-functioning Metro is critical for reducing those greenhouse gas emissions by giving people public transportation alternatives and reducing pressure to expand highways and sprawling development into rural areas.
This stimulus package funding would help cover the collapse in fare revenue, maintain service, prevent service disruption, and provide support for health safety measures that are currently under threat from WMATA’s expected $500 million budget shortfall for FY2022.
Local comprehensive plans in places like Loudoun County depend on a functioning Metro system to balance development and conservation. Regional land use and transportation plans are built around reliable weekday, weeknight and weekend service. This is not just a local and regional priority either – it is essential infrastructure that makes it easier for people to work at or travel to the federal government and other important institutions.
And most of us either use Metro or have family, friends, employees, or community members who depend on the opportunities and service it offers.
In short, we need to support Metro to protect our workforce, environment, and economy.
The following was an email alert sent out by our colleagues at the Coalition for Smarter Growth, which is a division of PEC that promotes walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities in the Washington D.C. region.
Take action so we don’t lose decades of progress
Last week, WMATA released some very grim news regarding their upcoming fiscal year 2022 budget which begins July 1. If Congress cannot pass a stimulus package soon, we will lose decades of hard-fought progress on transit expansion and service improvements. Facing a $500 million budget shortfall, the proposed FY22 budget would:
- End weekend rail service
- Cease rail service at 9pm daily
- Close 19 Metro stations
- Slash bus service
Our region relies on WMATA to transport essential workers, keep vehicle emissions low, and stimulate economic activity. These cuts, on top of those already proposed for January 1, threaten the progress made from decades of advocacy, but we’re not ready to give up.
Though this proposed budget is bleak, all hope is not lost. There is still time for Congress to pass a long overdue stimulus package with $32 billion in emergency operating funds for transit agencies nationwide. We’ve been pushing for this level of funding alongside many other transit advocacy groups since June.
The Senate has introduced a package with $15 billion for transit. While we appreciate our own Congressional delegation’s work on this, the allocation formula will provide nowhere near enough for WMATA to avoid severe cuts next year.
Even if politics limits the current deal to $15 billion, we’ll fight for the additional funds needed. We must fight for the emergency transit funding necessary to protect our workforce, environment, and economy but we can’t do it without your help. So take action today, and share on social media to spread the word!
Thanks for all you do,
Coalition for Smarter Growth
P.S. If you represent an organization, we are circulating an organizational sign-on letter here.