'Fiscal Cliff' Could Bring Budget Shortfalls For Regional Transportation | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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'Fiscal Cliff' Could Bring Budget Shortfalls For Regional Transportation

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The specter of sequestration and its potentially dire impact on the Metro D.C. area was the sobering agenda item on the Greater Washington Board of Trade's post-election roundup Thursday morning.

"Sequestration would hit us all pretty hard," says Virginia State Senator Richard Saslaw. "It would hit Northern Virginia and D.C. perhaps harder than the state of Maryland, but pretty hard nonetheless."

Saslaw was joined on the stage by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Maryland Senate President Mike Miller, as they discussed the region's prospects

"I think there is a willingness on the part of these leaders to work together across the borders of the greater Washington area. I'm pleased about that," says Jim Dinegar, the head of the board. "But what I heard was no new funding is expected, as it concerns transportation."

Dinegar says that this will necessary result in more gridlock. He implores regional leaders not to follow the federal government down the path of budget cuts for the Metro system.

"We would hope that they can continue to work together to alleviate the congestion by potentially considering public-private partnerships if we're not going to get another revenue source," says Dinegar.

Mayor Vincent Gray was optimistic that national leaders could prevent the region from confronting the fiscal cliff altogether.

"I want to be optimistic, because I just can't believe that our leadership would allow this to go on," says Gray "I'm hopeful that they'll reach across the aisle and work with one another, because everybody loses if they don't."

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