- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is calling on regional lawmakers to support a $500 million-a-year funding plan for Metro that COG approved on Wednesday.

“The COG resolution is being sent to the executive and legislative leadership of the District, Maryland, Virginia, and the federal government, including the region’s congressional delegation,” said COG Executive Director Chuck Bean in an email Thursday to The Washington Times.

The COG resolution states that the dedicated funding for the regional transit system should be in place no later than July 1, 2019, and would grow with the local economy.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, voiced opposition to dedicated funding after COG’s vote Wednesday.

“The District would pay a quarter of the funding, while making up only 15 percent of the region’s population,” Mr. Mendelson said in a written statement. “The cost to District residents is at least double the cost to most of our regional neighbors.”

Currently, the jurisdictions in the District, Maryland and Virginia where Metro runs cover shortfalls in the transit agency’s revenue from fares and advertising.

The federal government does not fund Metro’s operation budget, only its capital construction budget — at $150 million a year.

Metro’s maintenance funding varies widely: For fiscal 2016, the District provided $312 million, Prince George’s County $180, Montgomery County $139 million, Fairfax County $118 million, Arlington County $58 million, Alexandria $34 million, and Falls Church and Fairfax City $2 million each.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, who has implemented maintenance and safety plan, has called for a $500 million-a-year in dedicated funding for the transit system’s operations.

So far, only Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, has offered full support for the plan. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, proposed this fall that his state, Virginia and the District each contribute $125 million for the next four years.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, has said a regionwide sales tax should be enacted to supply the $500 million in dedicated funding.

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