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Despite Rough Year For Safety, Federal Audit Says Metro Improving

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First responders work to free a Metro employee who was pinned by a Metro train in May.
Scott Graham, MCFRS
First responders work to free a Metro employee who was pinned by a Metro train in May.

Metro is making progress on safety, but it still got a way to go. That is the conclusion of a new audit requested by lawmakers in the region.

As anyone who rides Metro knows, the agency's recent record isn't pretty. Train doors opening randomly, a worker being struck by a train, computer glitches shutting down the entire system and even a derailment, just to name a few.

The Federal Transit Administration's new audit says Metro is improving, though the report calls the gains fragile.

"We've made a lot of progress, but there's still old equipment, there's still things that need to be changed," says Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). "We think the culture has been changed, that they're now much more sensitive to the safety issues, but it's still a work in progress, and you've got to keep a spotlight on it, and they need the revenues to make the improvements."

That's why Cardin says the agency and other mass transit systems need to be shielded from pending federal budget cuts.

"Some of the improvements require capital changes, and any jeopardy in the funding source would set us back and put us more at risk," Cardin says.

The audit also says Metro needs to conduct further studies of its recent mishaps, including the derailment in July caused by a heat kink in a Green Line track.

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