The nation’s top transportation official is intensifying his pressure on D.C., Maryland and Virginia to create a new Metro safety oversight body in 2016.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sent letters Monday to legislative leaders in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia that repeated his threat to withhold transit funding for the three jurisdictions if they can’t come together to create a Metro Safety Commission. The federally mandated, independent group would set safety rules for Metrorail, replacing the ineffective Tri-State Oversight Committee, a local panel.
The letter to Virginia lawmakers warns that withheld funds “would amount to approximately $15 million from your collective Federal public transportation funds, and could be withheld from places such as Fredericksburg and Virginia Beach, Va., not just the D.C. metro area.”
The letter to Maryland legislators mentions the Annapolis and Cumberland areas as places that could feel the pinch of withheld funds.
While Bowser administrations officials recently said they expect a bill to advance this year (the D.C. Council meets year round, unlike the legislatures in the neighboring states), officials in Virginia and Maryland repeatedly have said identical bills will not be ready until January next year.
Foxx’s dispatches come days after he told reporters he would step up the pressure on regional leaders to set up the new oversight body to eventually take over the temporary role assumed by the Federal Transit Administration last October.
Letter From Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx To Maryland State Legislature On Metro Safety
Letter From Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx To Virginia State Legislature On Metro Safety