PROVIDING FOR AGREEMENT BY HOUSE WITH AMENDMENT TO SENATE AMENDMENT TO H.R. 2095, RAIL SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - September 24, 2008)
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Mr. DAVIS of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to support this important legislation. This bill includes vital language that will bring dedicated funding to Washington's Metro transit system. I particularly want to thank Chairman Oberstar and Chairman Brown and Mr. Shuster and Mr. Mica.
This bill includes my amendment, which passed the House earlier this year by an overwhelming margin, and encapsulates the National Capital Transportation Amendments Act. The cornerstone of this legislation is the authorization of $1.5 billion over 10 years to provide desperately-needed funding and capital improvements to the original 103-mile Metro system. The legislation also shores up management of the system by requiring an Inspector General position and adding four Federal representatives to the WMATA board.
Perhaps most significantly, the legislation requires that Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia formally dedicate funding to the system before receiving the newly-authorized Federal funds. Metro is the only major transit system in the Nation without dedicated funding. That will change.
Just this week, Metro reiterated its urgent need for billions in systems improvements. Their list of needs is anything but frivolous. Cars are being pushed beyond their life expectancy, buses are breaking down, platforms are crumbling.
Metro is unique because it is truly a creature of the Federal Government. The Federal Government depends on Metro to move its workers. Tourists depend on it to visit their Nation's Capital. Commuters depend on it as the best way to avoid our second-worst-in-the-Nation traffic woes.
The time to address these needs is now, and I applaud the House for stepping up to meet these critical needs. Again, I am most grateful to Representative Hoyer, Representative Oberstar, Representative Mica, Chairman Brown and Representative Shuster for their foresight, and also Senator Cardin and Senator Warner on the Senate side for their foresight and leadership on this critical issue for the Nation's capital and Federal workforce.
I urge support of the bill.
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