WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is threatening to withhold up to $1.6 billion in transit funding from the region, including money for construction of Maryland’s Purple Line, if the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) restores late-night service as local officials are pushing for, The Washington Post reports.
Local officials, including D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, are leading an effort to restore service hours the agency cut beginning with its SafeTrack rebuilding effort in 2016, contending the agency has had ample time to catch up on maintenance. However, WMATA officials argue that it risks reliability and losing more riders by shifting maintenance work to mid-day, which it would have to do if it was forced to revert to 3 a.m. closings.
The FTA said its federal funding for the region hinges on an approval process for the Metrorail Safety Commission, which must be federally certified by April 15. WMATA’s potential decision to revert to its old hours could hobble that process, because its staff would need to review its budget allotments to WMATA to ensure they properly align with the transit agency’s safety needs under the new hours, according to the FTA. For the full story, click here.