SIMMONS: Transportation — and how to pay for it — is Topic 1

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Indeed, Metro’s $2.5 billion operating and capital spending plan includes buying new buses and rail cars, rehabbing escalators and elevators, a new radio communications system to meet Federal Communications Commission mandates, and operation of the new Silver Line in Northern Virginia.

Metro also wants to buy new vehicles for MetroAccess, the discounted pickup-dropoff service for the disabled.

Some bus routes will provide limited service, but even that sounds like a reasonable move considering the fact that overall Metro ridership is down.

Still, Metro officials would do a disservice to bus and rail riders if they don’t make two additional promises. The first is improve safety and efficiency; the second is a vow to focus on routine and preventative maintenance and regular upgrades.

Metro officials’ shortsightedness in the past decade has led to widespread criticism and human tragedy.

For once, officials in the District, Maryland and Virginia need to scrub Metro’s plans with the finest-toothed combs, including asking aloud at a public hearing about school-transit subsidies.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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