If there’s an agency that could use some good news, it’s beleaguered WMATA.
This morning, in an attempt to show they’re thinking about more than just the years and years of capital repairs they’ve embarked upon, the transit agency this morning unveiled a plan to carry Metro past 2025 and to 2040 with clear goals that include the separation of the Orange and Blue, and the Yellow and Green, lines underground through the center of the District of Columbia, as well as push the boundaries of rail further out to as far as Centreville, Bowie and Potomac Mills.
The agency won’t be able to do that, though, without raising at least an additional $1.24B in revenue – per year – between 2015 and 2040.
This wish list is divided into two buckets: 2025 (+$500M/yr) and 2040 (+$740M/yr). The 2025 list includes the money to run 8-car trains throughout the system during peak periods, new pedestrian connections between Farragut North and Farragut West, and Chinatown/Gallery Place and Metro Center, and some transit coordination between regional powers. The 2040 list is far more ambitious, and includes new tunnels along M Street NW through Georgetown, and along 10th St NW from the river up to Thomas Circle, which would allow the yellow and green line to split through the core, as well as the orange and blue lines to split through the core.
I think, before most jurisdictions agree to outlay significant monies to boost Metro’s longterm vision, a clear path forward is necessary to the end of a system that is so delays as to be useless on the weekends, and full of consistent nagging problems on the weekdays.
Metro has an image problem – backed up by a failure to deliver problem – that it will need to combat in the public eye before the metro area will be willing to add $1.25B to the WMATA coffers.