WMATA leaders propose $1.8-billion budget for 2018

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WASHINGTON — The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has released a budget for fiscal 2018 that restores certain proposed service cuts, but raises fares and fees. It also proposes a 15.5-percent increase in funding from the federal government, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld called the $1.8-billion budget a “balanced sacrifice” in which patrons, employees, and management must share burdens.

“I recognize that even with some relief for customers, this proposal is tough medicine for the region, jurisdictions, riders, and Metro employees, all of whom must contribute to balance this budget,” Wiedefeld says in a news release.

For starters, rush-hour riders will have to wait longer for a train on the Metrorail system. Trains will operate at eight-minute intervals, but the agency will scrap proposed off-hours service cuts. “Lifeline” bus service will be added on selected late-night rail routes.

Wiedefeld says Metro's budget includes $1.25 billion for capital investments, including additional 7000-series cars to replace older cars, some which have been in operation since the start of service in the late 1970s.

To cover the capital costs, WMATA will also seek a total of $976 million in from federal and state governments, up from $845 million in fiscal 2017.

The new budget would go into effect July 1 if WMATA's board of directors approve it at their March 23 meeting.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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