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Threats To Withhold Matching Funds Could Affect Purchase Of New Metro Cars

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By Patrick Madden

Metro's general manager says if Virginia does not renew its pledge to match federal funding by today, the transit system's planned purchase of new rail cars could be in jeopardy.

Interim GM Richard Sarles says without commitment from Virginia, the transit system will not be able to get approval from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase hundreds of new rail cars and says the planned Dulles Extension would also be in doubt.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has threatened to withhold the funds because he wants the commonwealth to able to appoint two of the four board members from Virginia, right now all four are appointed by Northern Virginia jurisdictions.

And there's more at stake than just the new rail cars. The federal government has agreed to provide $1.5 billion in capital funding for Metro over 10 years if Maryland, Virginia, and the District provide matching funds.

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