Maryland withholding funds from DC Metro in ongoing dispute

RELATED TOPICS: TRANSIT | NORTHEAST
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WMATA

WASHINGTON — Maryland is withholding $56 million for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in an ongoing funding dispute, the Washington Post reports.

DC Metro General Manager has sent Maryland officials a letter asking them to release the funds, saying the agency’s credit rating could be damaged. The money was supposed to be released July 1, and is earmarked for new trains and buses. But state Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn says the agency is “stonewalling” on audits and failing to account for its spending.

Officially, Maryland is withholding the money because a capital funding agreement between the transit agency and the three jurisdictions that provide funding — Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia — expired on June 30. But Virginia and the District continued funding because they felt the parties were close to agreement on a one-year extension.

But the Post reports that the move also appears to reflect a desire by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, to send a political message to Metro and to Maryland Democrats. Hogan has been a vocal critic of Metro and says the state spends too much on transit, rather than roads, and is fighting with Democratic legislators over a plan to add toll lanes in the state’s Washington suburbs.

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