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Foxx: Evidence Metro finally putting safety first, but more to do

WASHINGTON — As Metro considers service cuts the general manager says are aimed at more track work time, the U.S. transportation secretary says it appears Metro is making progress toward prioritizing safety over service.

“This system is the nation’s system, and we’ve been working very hard and very diligently to make sure that WMATA is focused on safety first, and I see evidence that they are, and we’re going to keep working at it,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Wednesday.

The Federal Transit Administration has temporary safety oversight responsibilities for the system, and has identified several hundred issues that Metro has had to address in the last several months. As of the end of August, Metro had reduced the number of “open remedial actions” to 275, mainly tied to track problems.

On Thursday, a Metro Board committee is taking up proposals to cut back service hours across the rail system. General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has cited years of failed track work and inspections and the need for additional time on the tracks as well as the declining ridership across the board, but particularly during off-peak hours when service has been less consistent.

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