Nationals ask District to pay to keep Metro open late for fans

Mark Segraves,

WASHINGTON – Nationals officials are asking the District to pay to keep the Metro system open late should the team make it to the playoffs.

The request comes just days after a 13-inning game ended late stranding Nats fans who were surprised to find Metro had closed.

The team wants to ensure fans can get home on Metro if a game runs late and that the city foots the bill.

“It’s on their wish list,” says Allen Lew, the District’s City Administrator.

Lew and other District officials met with Nationals officials to discuss the possibility of post-season games.

The team presented several issues the Nationals want the District to help with including additional police, street closures and paying to keep Metro open if games go late, Lew says.

“All of that is on the table right now, additional security, we’re not looking to over do it,” Lew tells WTOP.

The team confirms officials met with the city to discuss preparing for the post- season.

“We did have a preliminary meeting with the city, which is typical of any organization that is beginning to plan for a potentially large event that can positively impact the city,” says Alexandra Schauffler, spokesperson for the Nats.

Metro requires organizations, like sports teams and event promoters, to provide a refundable deposit of $29,500 per hour of operation to keep the system running beyond normal operating hours. Most organizations, like the Capitals and the Redskins, have agreements with the transit agency in place. The Nationals do not.

There is some precedents for the District to use tax dollars to help the Nationals keep Metro open. In the past, the District has picked up the late-night tab. But that policy ended two years ago.

Lew says it’s unlikely the District will go back to paying that cost.

“In the past two years, the past two seasons, a letter was issued by me that the city would not cover that additional cost,” Lew says. “Right now that’s our position.”

The team is also asking permission to add more concession stands on the streets around the stadium, Lew says.

“They’re asking for, on Half Street, placing more of their own concession stands and fan experience things along that street,” he says.

In addition to keeping Metro open, the team asked the District to help with additional safety and traffic control, counterfeit merchandise and scalping enforcement, modified hours for street closures and vending, staging of buses and media trucks, additional banners and signage, according to Lew’s office.

The discussions are in the very early stages and no decisions have been made, he says.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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