Metro – which serves the Washington, DC metropolitan area – got a much-needed boost last week, when Maryland agreed to give its share of $167 million in permanent funding for the build, repair and maintenance of the rail transit system.
Virginia and the District of Columbia already have promised $500 million in dedicated funding, their share of capital investments that Metro needs to ensure safety and reliability. With Maryland’s commitment, Metro stands to receive a stable stream of funding for the first time since it began train service in 1976.
“In the last two weeks, we have seen history made in the Greater Washington region” as jurisdictions have joined “to make an unprecedented commitment to our Metro system,” said MetroNow, a broad coalition of business, nonprofit and advocacy groups.
The cost is divided according to a formula based on factors including population, ridership and number of Metro stations in each jurisdiction.
Each of the three is raising the money in a different way.
Maryland has planned to tap its state transportation trust fund, which will reduce the total available for road and bridge projects throughout the state.
Virginia is using a combination of state funds, an increase in regional wholesale gasoline taxes and the diversion of funds from Northern Virginia road and transit projects.
And the District plans to rely in part on raising the sales tax, commercial property tax and tax on ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.
A sprawling heavy rail transit system, the Metro as its commonly called – the third biggest in the nation – has 117 miles of route connecting the District of Columbia with Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia.