Md. set to end withholding of Metro money

metro train
A Metro train is seen passing through a station. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Maryland expects to soon release more than $40 million in crucial capital funding to Metro that the state has been withholding for months.

The state has hung onto the money since July 1, citing a number of concerns.

The Metro Board is expected to approve language Sept. 26 to assuage the Hogan administration’s concerns about the transfer of dedicated funding. The language would include details on how to handle auditing problems and ensure the state is not held responsible for Metro actions.

“And at that point then we can release the $42 million from our dedicated funds,” Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn said.

On Thursday, the Metro Board belatedly approved an extension of the region’s capital funding agreement that had expired in July, which was another Maryland concern.

Rahn, who joined the Metro Board this summer, said Metro’s new capital plans also assuage other concerns. Metro plans to outline 10 years of projects, costs and funding sources in a new document to be issued this fall.

About $13 million in additional Maryland funding could also be released when separate audit issues are addressed.

“I look forward to that item being resolved as well, and we will be able to get back in a regular funding approach,” Rahn said.

Metro provided Rahn’s office with additional documentation Wednesday, General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said.

“I believe he has all the stuff right now that he’s asked for, and they’re reviewing it,” Wiedefeld said.

While Wiedefeld downplayed any impact on the budget so far from Maryland’s withholding, concern would grow if the impasse dragged on.

Many of those involved in the discussions expect the problems to be resolved before significant problems arise, preventing any delays for track work or other projects or significant disruptions for Metro’s cash flow.

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