WASHINGTON – Local leaders are lashing out at the White House after President Barack Obama went back on a deal to fund Metro, which is in critical need of important updates and repairs.
The federal government committed in 2010 to giving Metro $150 million per year in exchange for the transit agency’s matching the federal funds and adding two new positions for federal appointees on the Metro Board of Directors.
The president’s most recent budget includes a 10-percent reduction in those funds.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says the president needs to live up to his word since about half the people who ride Metro are federal employees.
“I’m surprised, I really don’t know what the factors are that account for it,” says Gray. “We need to learn more about it, but I think first and foremost it needs to be restored to the original agreement of $150 million.”
Members of the Board of Directors have also said the federal government should be an equal partner in paying for safety improvements and other upgrades to the aging transportation system. Chairman Tom Downs says the president has broken his word to the region.
Congressional and state leaders from D.C., Maryland and Virginia are signing a letter to the White House and Congress, urging them to restore the $15 million cut.