The NVTC's recommendations offer the region a framework to guide long-term regional funding and reform discussions.  -  Photo: WMATA/Larry Levine

The NVTC's recommendations offer the region a framework to guide long-term regional funding and reform discussions.

Photo: WMATA/Larry Levine

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) makes recommendations to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to help the transit agency solve its structural funding deficit as it faces the potential of devastating service and staff cuts.

NVTC published the recommendations today as part of its annual "Report on the Condition and Performance of WMATA."

“While this is the beginning of the process, NVTC recognizes that Metro's proposed budget clearly lays out the harsh service cuts the region will endure unless the District, Maryland, and Virginia jointly take action," said NVTC Chair Dalia Palchik. "The Northern Virginia cities and counties that pay for Metro are ready to work with Metro, its Board, and Richmond to close the gap, knowing that it will take all sources of funding — local, regional, state, and federal — as well as smart financial management at Metro to avoid these devastating service cuts that will affect our regional and statewide economy.”

NVTC Makes Near-Term Recommendations

The report makes near-term recommendations that can provide immediate relief to WMATA and the Virginia localities that provide funding to WMATA, as well as critical actions that must be taken in the coming months.

Near-term recommendations include:

  • Seek administrative or legislative opportunities to permit WMATA to re-baseline its FY 2025 operating subsidy bill to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Advocate for additional state aid in FY 2025 to match local funding for WMATA.
  • Seek a commitment from federal, state, regional, and local funding partners to develop long-term, sustainable, dedicated funding to meet WMATA’s capital and operating needs.
  • Return federal workers to the office and secure a replacement for the region’s losses in fares from riders using federal transit benefits.
While the Greater Washington region pursues temporary actions to stabilize WMATA, the region must develop longer term solutions.  -  Photo: NVTC

While the Greater Washington region pursues temporary actions to stabilize WMATA, the region must develop longer term solutions.

Photo: NVTC

NVTC’s Long-Term Recommendations

While the Greater Washington region pursues temporary actions to stabilize WMATA, the region must develop longer term solutions. The recommendations offer the region a framework to guide long-term regional funding and reform discussions, and include:

  • Manage labor cost escalation through reforms to pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB), including increased worker contributions to pensions and OPEB; limiting or prohibiting overtime earnings toward retirement pay; and implementing Office of the Inspector General (OIG) findings to improve controls and governance and explore alternative retirement plans.
  • Seek Amendments to the federal Wolf Act that would require consideration of WMATA’s fiscal condition and jurisdictions’ ability to pay in binding arbitration.
  • Establish a revised Virginia and Maryland legislative operating assistance growth cap that addresses the unintended consequences of the current cap.
  • Improve farebox recovery by raising fares for Metrorail and Metrobus.
  • Formalize the functions and scope of a WMATA board audit committee to enhance oversight via a coordinated jurisdictional audit.
  • Secure one or more sustainable and reliable sources of dedicated revenues to support additional operating funding.
  • Establish a rainy-day fund at WMATA.
  • Secure one or more sustainable and reliable sources of dedicated revenues to support additional dedicated capital funding
  • Sustain NVTC’s technical, policy, financial, and legislative efforts to support the implementation of recommendations

NVTC publishes the "Report on the Condition and Performance of WMATA" annually and submits it to the governor and General Assembly, as required by Virginia law.

 

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