Provided by Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s Office
Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (VA-10) and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement after the Omnibus Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016 was introduced with a provision requiring the federal government to meet its full $150 million obligation in resources to WMATA:
“I am pleased that the federal government will fulfill its statutory obligation to provide a dollar-for-dollar match in combination with Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia for Metro’s budget. This funding partnership stems from a 2008 law that promised a 10-year federal commitment and much of these resources are used for safety improvements and purchasing new rail cars.
“In recent years, Metro has seen a steady increase in safety lapses and general inefficiencies. From the fatal smoke incident earlier this year, to the Red Line crash in 2009, commuters from the Tenth District and elsewhere are increasingly concerned about using Metrorail. Metro needs a cultural change – a top-to-bottom overhaul in terms of its structure, its facilities, its accountability, and its safety mechanisms. I will continue to be working in the new year to get feedback from both passengers and stakeholders on how to improve Metro going forward.
“I thank Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and my friend and fellow Virginian, Congressman Scott Rigell (R-VA-02), who understood Metro’s needs and worked with us to include these important, obligatory resources in the Omnibus.”
“I want to commend Congresswoman Comstock for her determination and leadership in securing full funding for WMATA,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL). “Since arriving in Congress, she has been a vocal advocate for transportation needs in Northern Virginia. WMATA has significant infrastructure and safety concerns, and I’m committed to working with her to continue robust oversight and ensuring these needs are addressed. Congresswoman Comstock’s commitment to secure these funds is admirable.”
Since 2009, Congress has worked in bipartisan fashion to fulfill its annual financial commitment to Metro. PWL Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia each contribute $50 million under a partnership created by the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) for a total of $150 million, which is then matched by an equal federal contribution. However in June, the House considered H.R. 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (T-HUD) which proposed to cut the federal share by 33 percent. Congresswoman Comstock voted against the T-HUD bill and proceeded to work in a bipartisan fashion to reinstate the promised federal match into the Omnibus Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016.