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Only Hours Left For Metro To Finalize Funding Agreement

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By David Schultz

Time is running out for Metro. It needs state and federal officials to approve a funding plan, or it may default on a contract for rail cars.

Metro's funding plan has been in doubt ever since Virginia threatened to withhold its share unless it could get more authority over the transit agency.

Metro needs to finalize that $3 billion plan by the close of the business day today so it can honor its contract to purchase the new rail cars - a major safety upgrade.

Sean Connaughton, Virginia's secretary of transportation, says he thought he came to an agreement with Metro's Board of Directors this morning.

"Unfortunately, now they've made modifications to it and we have to go back and make sure that we can live with those modifications," he says.

And if they can't live with them? "I don't know," Connaughton says, after a long pause.

If Virginia does agree to the changes, the agreement would then go to the Federal Transit Administration for final approval.

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