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President's Budget Includes Millions For Metro Safety

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By Alex Keefe

President Barack Obama's budget for next year includes $180 million to help make Metro safer. But there are still a couple of congressional hurdles.

The president's budget proposal allots $150 million to prop up Metro's crumbling infrastructure. Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff says it sets aside another $30 million to launch a new safety watchdog office within his agency.

"To pay for things like safety oversight inspectors, regulation writers, the associated lawyers, and other in-house staff that would stand up, for the first time in the FTA, a robust safety oversight program," he says.

The Obama administration came up with the idea for a new safety office after last year's Metro crash that killed nine people. But first Congress would have to give the agency broad powers to regulate commuter rail systems, and a bill to do that is still stalled on Capitol Hill.

The president's budget also includes $96 million to help build a silver line to Dulles Airport.

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