Local leaders warn of proposed Metro service cuts’ impact on minorities, front-line workers

Metro’s plan to dramatically scale back service next year as a result of a pandemic-related budget shortfall is facing more backlash.

At a news conference Wednesday, local leaders and others said the service cuts will have an outsized impact on minorities and front-line workers.

“It is our Black and brown residents who are going to suffer as a result of these kinds of draconian cuts,” said Montgomery County Council member Craig Rice.

“We cannot in good conscience balance the budget on the backs of our front-line personnel,” said Montgomery County Council member Evan Glass.

Under Metro’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins in July, rail operations would end at 9 p.m., weekend service would be eliminated and 19 stations would be closed. Trains would run less often and bus service would be significantly cut back.

“We join everyone here today in demanding WMATA find more innovative and creative ways to hold off such drastic cuts to service,” said Ashanti Martinez from Latino advocacy group CASA.

Glass and others added to calls for the federal government to step in.

“President-elect Biden and Congress need to work together to provide assistance to WMATA, and all the public transportation agencies across the country that are providing essential services to our essential workers,” Glass said.

Metro is proposing the new budget as it faces a nearly $500 million budget deficit. The plan, if approved, would also include salary freezes and layoffs.

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