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Montgomery Co. may support extending Metro hours

WASHINGTON — As the Metro board decides on whether to extend the rail system’s hours, transportation leaders from Montgomery County, Maryland, are weighing in.

In a letter sent to Metro, county officials said they would prefer to keep the hours as they are.

However, they said they would potentially be willing to support keeping Metro open one hour later on weekends. That would mean the system would close at 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights instead of 1 a.m.

“We recognize that the District believes very strongly that the hours should be extended, so we offered a little bit of a compromise,” said Tom Hucker, the head of the county council’s transportation committee.

But Hucker and others have major concerns about extending the hours.

Metro staff recommended keeping the current hours to allow maintenance and other safety programs to continue as planned.

Also, the Federal Transit Administration warned that an extension could trigger a ripple effect that would lead to the withholding of up to $1.6 billion from transit agencies across Maryland, Virginia and D.C.

“The federal government says that restoring additional late-night hours would compromise preventive maintenance,” Hucker said. “Maintaining the safety is really essential, and more important than restoring the late-night hours.”

The Metro board is set to vote next Thursday on whether the hours should be extended.

For now, it appears the board will keep the hours as they are. However, the two board members from D.C. — Jack Evans and Corbett Price — have threatened to block the board’s action using a jurisdictional veto. When both voting members from Maryland, Virginia or the District vote no on a Metro resolution, it fails automatically.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also has been insistent that the agency restore late-night service.

The hours have been shorter since 2016, when Metro started a new maintenance program. Before that, Metro had been closing at 3 a.m. on weekends.

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