WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is proposing new short-term funding for Metro as he continues to oppose raising taxes to provide dedicated funding for the system.
In a letter to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Hogan said Maryland would give Metro an additional $125 million a year over current funding levels for the next four years if Virginia, D.C. and the federal government do too.
Hogan said that would give the region four years to figure out a more permanent solution.
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has asked for $500 million per year in dedicated funding for Metro’s major capital projects. Metro could use that dedicated funding stream to back bonds to help pay for urgently needed additional maintenance and repairs.
In the letter, Hogan told Bowser and McAuliffe “there is absolutely no separation between us on how critical Metro is and that action needs to be taken.”
Addressing his counterparts in the District and Virginia, Hogan said “you have both stated your skepticism of the potential for increased federal investment” in Metro, but that “a unified lobbying effort, with all three jurisdictions proactively committing to our own proposed additional funding” would increase their chances of getting more federal money.
In the letter, he takes a number of shots at regional proposals for Metro changes that have been proposed without a real path to accomplishing them.
“I believe it would be helpful to avoid proposing ideas to reform WMATA without also proposing how we are actually going to accomplish them,” Hogan wrote.
Hogan added that “by any logical measure, Maryland has been paying … more than our fair share” for Metro. He cited the proposal “from the District of Columbia to institute a massive regional sales tax,” which he called “obviously not a viable proposal,” which has “no real chance” of being implemented.
While Bowser, McAuliffe and former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who was hired to review Metro reforms, believe that changing Metro’s governing compact is something that has little chance of happening anytime soon, Hogan reiterated his stance that changing the document is needed to allow for management and governance changes.
WTOP’s Rick Massimo contributed to this report.