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Metro's Expansion Plans Includes New Tunnels

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The Metro plan would allow for more tunnels, potentially easing congestion on tracks shared by the Blue and Orange Lines.
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The Metro plan would allow for more tunnels, potentially easing congestion on tracks shared by the Blue and Orange Lines.

Leaders of Washington's Metro transit agency are proposing new tunnels to help the system keep up with growing demand. The tunnels are included in a 49-page strategic plan (pdf) presented Thursday to the transit agency's board of directors.

Metro's immediate goals call for measures to improve the existing infrastructure, including adding powering capacity to allow for more 8 cars trains and building new pedestrian connections between certain stations.

More ambitiously, Metro says the plans also include the possibility of new tunnels in the core of the system to separate lines that currently share tunnels. It also calls for building express tracks along the Silver and Orange lines in Virginia, as well expanding current lines.

Metro management says an additional $740 million a year would allow the transit agency to take these kind of measures to prepare for growth of the system, and challenged the region's leaders to develop a funding strategy.

The District, Maryland, Virginia and the federal government contribute to Metro's operating and capital budgets, which total $2.5 billion.

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