Sparks Fly At Metro Over Controversial Budget Measure | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Sparks Fly At Metro Over Controversial Budget Measure

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County Planning Board Chairman Sam Parker says the Purple Line is expected to spur hundreds of millions of dollars in badly needed development.
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County Planning Board Chairman Sam Parker says the Purple Line is expected to spur hundreds of millions of dollars in badly needed development.

By David Schultz

To avoid making painful service cuts, Metro might take $30 million out of its preventative maintenance fund and put that into its day-to-day budget.

Just a few months ago, there were hardly any Board Members who supported this. Now, Chairman Peter Benjamin of Maryland is behind it.

That infuriated Virginia's Chris Zimmerman.

"Some people were opposed to it before and, apparently, now have seen a new light," says Zimmerman, glaring at Benjamin from across the table.

"Mr. Zimmerman," retorts Benjamin, "would you please not characterize what I say differently from how I say it?"

Benjamin says the money will be returned to the maintenance fund at a later date.

"The General Manager's proposal says we will borrow from the capital budget," he says. "And we will do our very, very best to pay that back."

But Zimmerman didn't buy it.

"[That's] a fiction you would not have accepted two months ago," he tells Benjamin.

Zimmerman wants D.C., Maryland and Virginia to contribute more to Metro's budget so it doesn't have to take money from the preventative maintenance fund.But Benjamin says Maryland has contributed as much as it possibly can.

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