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Few Turn Out To Discuss $851 Million Metro Improvement Plan

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For all the criticism leveled at Metro for rail, bus and escalator maintenance and safety, the turn out at Monday's public hearing was underwhelming.

Jarrett Bolden, a resident of Arlington, Va., and a regular Metro rider, was one of just two people signed up to speak.

Bolden said he'd like to see Metro expand capacity, and improve the way it gets information to commuters -- perhaps by making use of Google's transit application, as 18 other urban transit systems have done.

"This is a huge amount of money going to very little improvement to the overall system," Bolden says.

Metro spokesperson Lisa Farbstein disagrees. She points out that Metro plans to spend more than $140 million over the next six years on replacing rundown elevators and escalators -- things every passenger uses. And Farbstein says Metro has already begun working as fast as it can.

"We wish we could snap our fingers and have it happen overnight, but it's something that takes a lot of work, a lot of time...we've already started some of that important rehabilitation work at Foggy Bottom," Farbstein says.

Metro's board has to finalize this plan in order to apply for federal grants, but the board isn't expected to finalize its actual budget until the summer.

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