It is unfortunate that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) system has become a political football by those who are responsible for the system. It seems that denouncing Metro is seen as politically expedient while at the same time those same politicians refuse to provide funds that will allow Metro system to maintain and operate its capital plant.
For example, see this article about Robert McDonnell, Virginia Governor, calling for increased safety oversight for Metro. As I have mentioned before, this is a laudable and necessary goal, but it requires money (it was unmentioned whether Gov. McDonnell discussed how to pay for the oversight).
Subsidy Funding (fiscal year 2010) (Source: WMATA)
|District of Columbia||$201.6 million|
|Total subsidy||$546.7 million (+27.5 million debt service)= $574.2 million|
Passenger fares and parking fees: $702.7 million
Metro System Information
Metrobus 340 routes (breakdown by jurisdiction not available)
Metrorail stations (by state)
District of Columbia 40 (38.3 miles of track)
Maryland 26 (Montgomery County (11) and Prince George’s County (15)) (38.31 miles) [Note: The state of Maryland operates its own subway in Baltimore, Md.]
Virginia 20 (Arlington County (11), Fairfax County (6), and the City of Alexandria (3)) (29.47 miles)
The days of expecting the ridership to cover the funding shortfalls has come to an end; the jurisdictions must step forward with additional funding. Metro is an instrument that many taxpayers use to get to work or social activities all around the metropolitan area. So providing money to Metro is not really a money drain but rather an input to capital which allows for the same jurisdictions to receive an output (tax receipts).