Provided by Congressman Gerry Connolly’s Office
Congressman Gerry Connolly released the following statement on General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s Metro Maintenance Plan:
The ambitious maintenance plan announced today by Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld is indeed painful medicine. This unprecedented action reflects the severe damage wrought from decades of neglect for basic upkeep and safety that cannot be undone overnight.
Single-tracking and shutting down stretches of Metro lines for long periods of time will create enormous disruption in the lives of the region’s riders, business, and the federal government for weeks or months at a time, but the fact such bold action is even necessary underscores the severe risk of the current situation within Metro.
Just last night service along a stretch of the Orange/Blue/Silver Lines was suspended during the evening rush hour due to another electrical arcing incident. Such scary events are becoming all too frequent. The frustration didn’t end there as today’s morning commute was once again fouled for thousands of riders due to train malfunctions and track signal problems.
This has been a decades-long march into mediocrity and dysfunction, and we must steady Metro from reeling from crisis to crisis and get it back on track. I commend the GM for the safety and personnel actions he’s already taken since coming on board, but all Metro employees, top to bottom, must step up to meet this challenge. The survival of their jobs and Metro itself demands nothing less.
I ask the region’s riders and businesses that rely on Metro each day for their patience in adjusting our daily lives and routines while these urgent repairs are made, but that goodwill must be rewarded. Metro and its partners must deliver. This will require the local, state, and federal governments to coordinate with Metro to mitigate the effects of this work and to provide commuter alternatives in the short term, and it will require the region to collectively consider how we adequately fund Metro for the long-term to prevent such challenges from arising again.
Metro has been our single greatest regional achievement, yet it has been allowed to slowly rot over time due to neglect. It’s time to restore America’s Subway to the place of prominence it once held, to set the standard for others across the nation, and to give our riders the world-class system they deserve.