Montgomery Co. council president: Metro needs dedicated funding

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner says there’s no debate: Metro needs more money invested in its operations and upkeep.

“It is now a 40-year-old system. It is falling apart,” Berliner said Monday.

Some Red Line riders experienced problems Monday — a segment from Silver Spring to Fort Totten is closed until Dec. 10 for track work and shuttle buses at the Silver Spring Metro station stretched for blocks Monday.

Asked about such track work, Berliner said those kinds of repairs show just how much work has to be done to bring Metro back to what he says was “world class” service when it first opened.

Berliner said some of Metro’s stations, suffering from water leakage that led to electrical problems, “looked like Luray Caverns,” and he was sympathetic to frustrated riders who say ongoing track work and the resulting delays are unacceptable.

But he says those are all the results of deferred maintenance. He credits the current Metro general manager, Paul Wiedefeld, for trying to address those issues. “Look at what happens when you don’t invest in Metro,” he told reporters.

Berliner, a Democrat who is running for Montgomery County executive, says Metro should get dedicated funding.

“There is no single system more important to our region than Metro — no single system more important to Montgomery County than Metro,” said Berliner.

“This is not just a Montgomery County, Prince George’s County issue. The economy of the state of Maryland depends on investing in Metro,” Berliner said during a briefing with reporters.

Berliner, who supports dedicated funding for Metro, said he was really disappointed to hear that the Maryland secretary of transportation was questioning the need for more funding as outlined in a plan proposed by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Pete Rahn was quoted in The Washington Post as saying more study was needed on the budget plans outlined in LaHood’s report.

“We are the only community in America that doesn’t have a dedicated source of funds for a major subway system,” said Berliner.

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