Provided by Congressman Barbara Comstock’s Office
Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) sent the below letter which is linked here to WMATA GM Paul Wiedefeld on Monday’s derailment of a Metro Red Line Train. In December, the Congresswoman introduced the METRO Accountability and Reform Act that has gained the support of over 30 business groups. More information on the bill here.
Dear Mr. Wiedefeld,
Another day; another Metro derailment. The constant unreliability and dangerous conditions of Metro unfortunately continues. A Washington Post headline in the aftermath summed up the sentiment that “Metro riders have adjusted after years of subway troubles: They expect the worst.” The piece highlighted those experiences from a multitude of riders whose lower expectations now mean many come to expect these incidents as routine and a normal risk of their commute.
Riders pointed out the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has received additional funding and yet the system has gotten worse. They understand money is not the only problem and improvements will be hindered until better governance is achieved. Meanwhile, the “Back2Good” advertising campaign tells us things are getting better, while people continue to experience a stark contrast with accidents, filthy facilities, and crime. Just this week, a rapist was convicted who sexually assaulted a woman in broad daylight on a Red Line metro train. I worry for the young women who take the system including a former staffer who was recently mugged by a group of teens.
Incidents like the derailment on the Red Line are another example of the unacceptable condition of WMATA and the dire need for fundamental reform to not only provide more resources, but also truly address the constant dangerous and unreliable conditions that plague the system and result in repeated problems that we have been assured have already been addressed. This is exactly why I worked with stakeholders over the past year on legislation, the METRO Accountability and Reform Act, to fundamentally reform the system.
Strong assurances were made to riders that SafeTrack would avert these types of accidents yet we continue to see these situations far too frequently. As the investigation continues, I would like to request all of the documents:
- Related to the ultrasonic testing on August 9, 2017 in the incident area;
- Related to the automatic geometry measurements on October 2, 2017;
- Related to the walking inspections conducted on January 3rd, 7th, and 10th;
- Produced after the forensic analysis and metallurgic testing of the removed and quarantined section of rail where the derailment occurred is completed; and
- Produced after the inspection of the eight-car trainset has been completed.
Additionally, I would like to request on behalf of the riders that the “Back2Good” advertising campaign be ceased and those resources be redirected to the improvements, which are so desperately needed.