July 19, 2017
U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) applauded House approval on Monday of two joint resolutions that she said would help improve the safety of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) system.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced in February 2016 that the Metro Safety Commission, an interstate compact between Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, had to be certified and in place before February 2017. Although the legislative calendars of participating states made the February deadline impossible to meet, the FTA announced that 5 percent, or $8.9 million, in federal funds for transit systems would be initially withheld for failing to do so.
One of the joint resolutions approved on Monday extends congressional approval to the Metro Safety Commission, helping to avert a total of $15 million in withheld transit funds by the end of fiscal year 2017.
“I was pleased to cosponsor and join my regional colleagues in supporting this joint resolution to lend congressional approval to the Metro Safety Commission — a new interstate compact between Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia,” Comstock said. “The Metro Safety Commission will help improve safety for the entire Metrorail system and these resolutions are important first steps in assuring a safety culture at Metro. I trust we will continue our bipartisan commitment to restore Metro to the system our constituents and our Capitol deserves.”
A second joint resolution that was led by Comstock would allow the secretary of transportation to appoint WMATA board members rather than the General Services Administration (GSA).
“The secretary of transportation is, of course, better equipped to appoint professional directors to the WMATA board, and I am pleased to have led this effort to provide the final legal foundation needed for this common sense amendment to the interstate compact,” Comstock said.
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