September 11, 2012

D.C. Metro grows projects investment by $160M

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (Metro) investment in projects to rebuild and modernize its railroad, trains, stations and buses grew by 26% to $770 million in FY2012, an increase of nearly $160 million, and is on track to continue ramping up to nearly a billion dollars this year, following years of underinvestment in maintaining the system.

In a presentation to the Metro Board Finance & Administration Committee, Metro staff will provide a detailed update on progress to rebuild the system.

“What these charts and graphs tell us is that customers are starting to benefit from more reliable service with a newer fleet of vehicles, and upgraded track and track components. These investments are also starting to deliver more reliable escalators and elevators following extensive modernization and replacement projects,” said Marcel Acosta, chair of the Board Finance & Administration Committee.

The fiscal year 2013 capital budget accelerates efforts to rebuild Metro. In the coming weeks, Metro will open the new Shepherd Parkway bus facility in Southwest Washington, D.C., and reopen the south entrance of the Dupont Circle station upon completion of the entrance escalator replacement project.

“Most importantly, we are making significant progress addressing federal safety recommendations and improving reliability by upgrading and replacing thousands of moving parts that make the system work,” said Metro GM and CEO Richard Sarles.

For example, during the year, Metro welded 1,229 joints, rehabilitated 1,445 linear feet of floating slabs and replaced 2,679 rail signs, 12 miles of running rail, and 21,336 cross ties.

The aggressive capital program, known as Metro Forward, includes projects to replace 95 buses; rehabilitate 100 buses, 42 escalators and 21 elevators; install event recorders on the 1000- and 4000-series railcars, and continue the rehabilitation of track and structures maintenance on the Red, Orange and Blue lines.

The report  includes significant accomplishments over the last year, including:

•    Rehabilitation of 36 escalators throughout the system

•    Replacement of three escalators at Foggy Bottom station

•    Rehabilitation of four elevators

•    Acquisition of 166 new Metrobuses to replace older buses that have been removed from service

•    Rehabilitation of 100 buses in midlife overhaul program

•    Acquisition of 213 new paratransit vehicles

Metro’s aggressive schedule of work to rebuild the system over the past two years and proposed work schedule for the next several years will enable the transit system to catch up on maintenance projects including replacing ties, fasteners, frogs and running rail. Clearing the backlog on such maintenance projects caused by years of underinvestment will enable Metro to achieve a steady state of maintenance on the rail system by 2018, resulting in a safer, more reliable ride for customers.

In fiscal 2012 Metro also continued to advance critical work to meet NTSB recommendations, including the completion of a key recommendation to install Guarded #8 rail switches. Between 2008 and 2012, Metro installed 108 of the recommended 178 Guarded #8 switches, including 64 over the past two years. In addition, Metro moved ahead with the 7000-series rail car project to replace the 1000-series fleet, and continued work on track circuit and power cable replacement.

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