By Patrick Madden
Metro is facing a nearly $200 million budget deficit for next year. Filling that gap will probably take fare increases, service cuts and, if one local lawmaker has his way, more expensive gas as well.
D.C. Council Member Jim Graham is proposing to raise the District's gas tax by ten cents. Graham says the tax would only go into effect if Virginia and Maryland pass the same increase. He says it would raise about $30 million. That money would go directly into Metro's operating budget.
"We are faced right now at Metro WMATA, with very serious service cuts," says Graham. "We are faced with fare increases, the riders are doing their share, I think the jurisdictions in region have got to step up to the plate."
Getting Virginia to sign off on the deal may be difficult; lawmakers in Northern Virginia have had little luck over the years raising taxes to address the region's transportation woes.