Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., ranking member and former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said today he was extremely pleased his legislation to bring dedicated funding to Washington's Metro transit system cleared a key hurdle in the Senate.
The Senate voted, 69-30, in a procedural vote. Final approval is expected Wednesday.
Davis' Metro bill, now part of a larger bill that contained a variety of transportation measures, was known originally as the National Capital Transportation Amendments Act (H.R. 401). The legislation authorizes $1.5 billion in federal funds to operate and provide system upgrades to the 103-mile system, adds an Inspector General position and puts four federal representatives - two voting, two non-voting - on the board to represent the interests of the federal government.
Perhaps most significantly, the legislation requires that Virginia, Maryland the District of Columbia formally dedicate funding to the system before receiving federal funds. Metro is the only major transit system in the country without dedicated funding. This would end its yearly journeys to the jurisdictions - tin cup in hand - to beg for money to run a system on which nearly 300,000 depend each day. It also expands wireless service for passengers.
"I commend the Senate - particularly my dear friend John Warner (R-Va), who, like me, is stepping down at the end of this term - for removing the roadblocks to progress and addressing the transit needs of the federal government and the national capital area," said Davis. "I want to thank our partners in the Senate for overcoming considerable institutional resistance to meeting this vital regional and national need. I look forward to final passage and to working with the White House to see this become law."