Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Overview
 
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (often abbreviated as WMATA and commonly referred to as Metro) is a tri-jurisdictional government agency that operates transit service in the Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 metropolitan area
Washington Metropolitan Area
The Washington Metropolitan Area is the metropolitan area centered on Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The area includes all of the federal district and parts of the U.S...

, including the Metrorail
Washington Metro
The Washington Metro, commonly called Metro, and unofficially Metrorail, is the rapid transit system in Washington, D.C., United States, and its surrounding suburbs. It is administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority , which also operates Metrobus service under the Metro name...

, Metrobus
Metrobus (Washington, D.C.)
Metrobus is a bus service operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority . Its fleet consists of 1,480 buses covering an area of in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. There are over 300 bus routes serving 12,216 stops, including 2,398 bus shelters. In fiscal year 2009,...

 and MetroAccess. WMATA was created by interstate compact
Interstate compact
An interstate compact is an agreement between two or more states of the United States of America. Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution provides that "no state shall enter into an agreement or compact with another state" without the consent of Congress...

, authorized by the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, and jointly funded by the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, jurisdictions in suburban Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, and northern Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

.

WMATA provides rapid transit
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 service under the "Metrorail" brand, as well as fixed-route bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

 service under the "Metrobus
Metrobus (Washington, D.C.)
Metrobus is a bus service operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority . Its fleet consists of 1,480 buses covering an area of in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. There are over 300 bus routes serving 12,216 stops, including 2,398 bus shelters. In fiscal year 2009,...

" brand, a paratransit
Paratransit
Paratransit is an alternative mode of flexible passenger transportation that does not follow fixed routes or schedules. Typically mini-buses are used to provide paratransit service, but also share taxis and jitneys are important providers....

 service under the "MetroAccess" brand, and is part of the public-private partnership
Public-private partnership
Public–private partnership describes a government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies...

 that operates the DC Circulator
DC Circulator
The DC Circulator is a bus system in Washington, D.C. The system is a public-private partnership between the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and DC Surface Transit, Inc., operated by First Transit.The concept of a separate...

 bus system.
Encyclopedia
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (often abbreviated as WMATA and commonly referred to as Metro) is a tri-jurisdictional government agency that operates transit service in the Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 metropolitan area
Washington Metropolitan Area
The Washington Metropolitan Area is the metropolitan area centered on Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The area includes all of the federal district and parts of the U.S...

, including the Metrorail
Washington Metro
The Washington Metro, commonly called Metro, and unofficially Metrorail, is the rapid transit system in Washington, D.C., United States, and its surrounding suburbs. It is administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority , which also operates Metrobus service under the Metro name...

, Metrobus
Metrobus (Washington, D.C.)
Metrobus is a bus service operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority . Its fleet consists of 1,480 buses covering an area of in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. There are over 300 bus routes serving 12,216 stops, including 2,398 bus shelters. In fiscal year 2009,...

 and MetroAccess. WMATA was created by interstate compact
Interstate compact
An interstate compact is an agreement between two or more states of the United States of America. Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution provides that "no state shall enter into an agreement or compact with another state" without the consent of Congress...

, authorized by the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, and jointly funded by the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, jurisdictions in suburban Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, and northern Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

.

WMATA provides rapid transit
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 service under the "Metrorail" brand, as well as fixed-route bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

 service under the "Metrobus
Metrobus (Washington, D.C.)
Metrobus is a bus service operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority . Its fleet consists of 1,480 buses covering an area of in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. There are over 300 bus routes serving 12,216 stops, including 2,398 bus shelters. In fiscal year 2009,...

" brand, a paratransit
Paratransit
Paratransit is an alternative mode of flexible passenger transportation that does not follow fixed routes or schedules. Typically mini-buses are used to provide paratransit service, but also share taxis and jitneys are important providers....

 service under the "MetroAccess" brand, and is part of the public-private partnership
Public-private partnership
Public–private partnership describes a government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies...

 that operates the DC Circulator
DC Circulator
The DC Circulator is a bus system in Washington, D.C. The system is a public-private partnership between the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and DC Surface Transit, Inc., operated by First Transit.The concept of a separate...

 bus system. WMATA has its own police force, the Metro Transit Police Department
Metro Transit Police Department
The Metro Transit Police Department is the police agency serving the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. It was created by the on June 4, 1976....

. WMATA has no taxing authority and must depend on its member jurisdictions for capital investments and operating subsidies. Historically, the WMATA Board consisted of two voting representatives of each the District of Columbia (DC), Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland. Each jurisdiction also has two non-voting alternate representatives. In 2009, WMATA arranged for $3 billion in additional funding to meet pressing capital investments by amending its compact to add two voting representatives and two non-voting alternates from the Federal government to its board. This would make $150 million per year of Federal funds available that are required to be matched by $50 million in annual contributions from DC, Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland, each for ten years. These funds are being used to address needed safety improvements including track repairs, track control systems, new rail cars, and escalator repairs.

In addition to ongoing operations, WMATA participates in regional transportation planning and is developing future expansions of its system. This includes extension of Metrorail to Dulles Airport and street car or "light rail" lines in the District of Columbia or in Suburban Maryland.

History

Planning for Metro began with the Mass Transportation Survey in 1955 which attempted to forecast both freeway and mass transit systems sufficient to meet the needs of 1980. In 1959, the study's final report included two rapid transit lines which anticipated subways in downtown Washington. Congress responded to the report by enacting the National Capital Transportation Act of 1960 to coordinate future transportation planning for the area. The act created a new federal agency called the National Capital Transportation Agency (NCTA). Because the 1959 plan called for extensive freeway construction within the District of Columbia, alarmed residents successfully lobbied for a moratorium on freeway construction through July 1, 1962, to be included in the Act. The NCTA's November 1962 Transportation in the National Capital Region report included a proposal for an 89-mile (143 km), $793 million rail system with the total cost of the highway/rail system being less than the 1959 plan due to the elimination of controversial freeways. The plan was supported by President Kennedy, but opposed by highway advocates in Congress who reduced the rail system to only 23-miles (37 km) within the District of Columbia. However, that proposal was defeated in Congress shortly after President Kennedy's death. As federal transportation funding polcy shifted from paying 90% of capital costs to only 66%, the NCTA began to recommend the formation of a private entity or a multi-state authority to operate the system using more non-federal funds. On September 8, 1965, President Johnson signed the National Capital Transportation Act of 1965 approving the construction of a 25-mile (40 km) rapid transit system. Meanwhile, the NCTA began to negotiate with Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia for the formation of a new regional entity.

WMATA was created by an interstate compact
Interstate compact
An interstate compact is an agreement between two or more states of the United States of America. Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution provides that "no state shall enter into an agreement or compact with another state" without the consent of Congress...

, a special type of contract or agreement between one or more states, and operates in a similar fashion to the provisions of a treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 between countries. Pursuant to the Compact Clause of the Constitution of the United States, any such compact must be approved by Congress, and if approved, the provisions of the compact go into effect. The compact creating WMATA was called the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Compact.

After the compact was approved by the Maryland General Assembly
Maryland General Assembly
The Maryland General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland. It is a bicameral body. The upper chamber, the Maryland State Senate, has 47 representatives and the lower chamber, the Maryland House of Delegates, has 141 representatives...

 in 1965, and passed through the Virginia General Assembly
Virginia General Assembly
The Virginia General Assembly is the legislative body of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, established on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house, the Virginia House of Delegates, with 100 members,...

 and Congress in 1966, WMATA was created on February 20, 1967.

As a government agency, the compact grants WMATA sovereign immunity by all three jurisdictions within which it operates, and except for certain limited exceptions, it cannot be successfully sued unless it waives immunity.
Under the provisions of the compact, the authority is effectively a District of Columbia corporation.

WMATA broke ground for its train system in 1969. The original compact provided only for rail service, but the area bus companies were losing money and demanded to be taken over. As a result, the compact was amended in 1971 to allow WMATA to operate a bus system. WMATA's bus system is a successor to four privately owned bus companies (DC Transit, the Washington, Virginia and Maryland Coach Company, the AB&W Transit Company, and the WMA Transit Company), whose assets were sold to WMATA in 1973.

At the outset, WMATA was led by general manager, Jackson Graham
Jackson Graham
Jackson Graham was a Major General of the Army Corps of Engineers in the United States Army and was the first General Manager for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority .-Early life and education:...

, a retired general in the Army Corps of Engineers
United States Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 38,000 civilian and military personnel, making it the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency...

, who supervised the planning and initial construction of the Metrorail system. The first portion of the Metrorail system opened March 27, 1976. Graham retired in 1976, and was replaced by Theodore C. Lutz. Richard S. Page, head of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, took over as general manager of WMATA in 1979. Page resigned in 1983, amid increasing financial difficulties for WMATA. and was replaced by Carmen E. Turner, who served for seven years. Former New York City Transit Authority
New York City Transit Authority
The New York City Transit Authority is a public authority in the U.S. state of New York that operates public transportation in New York City...

 chief, David L. Gunn
David L. Gunn
David L. Gunn is a transportation system administrator who has headed several significant railroads and transit systems in North America....

, took over as head of WMATA in 1991, followed by Lawrence G. Reuter in 1994, and Richard A. White
Richard A. White
Richard A. White is an American public transportation official who served as the CEO and General Manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, from 1996-2006. Prior to joining WMATA as CEO, he served as the general manager at Bay Area Rapid Transit in the San Francisco area...

 in 1996. White served as general manager for the next ten years.

After 1996

In 1998, Congress changed the name of the Washington National Airport to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport with the law specifying that no money be spent to implement the name change. As a result, WMATA did not change the name of the National Airport station (which never included the full name of the airport). In response to repeated inquiries from Republican congressmen that the station be renamed, WMATA stated that stations are renamed only at the request of the local jurisdiction. Because both Arlington County and the District of Columbia were controlled by Democrats, the name change was blocked. Finally, in 2001, Congress made changing the station's name a condition of further federal funding.

General Manager Richard A. White
Richard A. White
Richard A. White is an American public transportation official who served as the CEO and General Manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, from 1996-2006. Prior to joining WMATA as CEO, he served as the general manager at Bay Area Rapid Transit in the San Francisco area...

 led efforts to improve accountability and dialogue with passengers during 2005. This included independent audit
Audit
The general definition of an audit is an evaluation of a person, organization, system, process, enterprise, project or product. The term most commonly refers to audits in accounting, but similar concepts also exist in project management, quality management, and energy conservation.- Accounting...

s, town hall meetings, online chat
Online chat
Online chat may refer to any kind of communication over the Internet, that offers an instantaneous transmission of text-based messages from sender to receiver, hence the delay for visual access to the sent message shall not hamper the flow of communications in any of the directions...

s with White and other management officials, and improved signage in stations. White had three more years in his contract to work for Metro, but had come under fire for mismanagement; however, he was also "widely credited with saving the Metrobus system from collapse and with keeping Metro running during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001." Despite these efforts, however, the Board of Directors announced White's dismissal on January 11, 2006. Dan Tangherlini
Dan Tangherlini
Daniel M. "Dan" Tangherlini is the current Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Management, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Performance Officer at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Prior to that, he served as City Administrator of Washington, D.C...

 replaced White as interim General Manager, effective February 16, 2006.

Tangherlini was considered a leading candidate for Metro's top job on a permanent basis before he resigned to work as City Administrator under Mayor Adrian Fenty
Adrian Fenty
Adrian Malik Fenty was the sixth, and at age 36, the youngest, mayor of the District of Columbia. He served one term—from 2007 to 2011—losing his bid for reelection at the primary level to Democrat Vincent C. Gray...

. On November 6, 2006, Tangherlini was replaced as interim general manager by Jack Requa, Metro's chief bus manager.John B. Catoe, Jr., who was previously the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is the California state-chartered regional transportation planning agency and public transportation operating agency for the County of Los Angeles formed in 1993 out of a merger of the Southern California Rapid Transit District and the...

, became the agency's eighth permanent General Manager on January 25, 2007.

Impacts of the 2008 financial crisis

In response to a demand for immediate repayment of a $43 million debt, WMATA sought a temporary restraining order against the KBC Bank Group
KBC Bank
KBC Bank N.V. is a Belgian universal multi-channel bank, focusing on private clients and small and medium-sized enterprises. Besides retail banking, insurance and asset management activities , KBC is active in European debt capital markets, domestic cash equity markets and in the field of corporate...

. KBC claimed that the WMATA was in technical default of a contract following the collapse of AIG
AIG
AIG is American International Group, a major American insurance corporation.AIG may also refer to:* And-inverter graph, a concept in computer theory* Answers in Genesis, a creationist organization in the U.S.* Arta Industrial Group in Iran...

, which had guaranteed the loan that KBC made to WMATA in 2002. The contract involved the sale to KBC of the WMATA's rail cars, which were then leased back to WMATA. WMATA asked for an injunction from the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia on October 29, 2008.

After three days of negotiations in federal court, Judge Rosemary M. Collyer
Rosemary M. Collyer
Rosemary Mayers Collyer is a United States District Court judge for the District of Columbia-Education:-Legal career:-Notable cases:...

 announced a settlement on November 14, 2008. Both parties agreed not to discuss the terms of the settlement, which ended the leaseback arrangement. WMATA had 14 similar lease agreements with other financial institutions when the KBC case went to trial. Waivers were requested from the banks to allow WMATA time to replace AIG with another insurer or guarantees by the federal government.

In 2009, WMATA issued two new series of municipal bonds bringing its total outstanding bonds to $390.9 million, as of June 30, 2010. This includes $55 million of Build America Bonds
Build America Bonds
Build America Bonds are taxable municipal bonds that carry special tax credits and federal subsidies for either the bond issuer or the bondholder. Build America Bonds were created under Section 1531 of Title I of Division B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that U.S. President Barack...

 issued in 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that are partially subsidized by the federal government. However, most of the system's debt is financed directly by each local jurisdiction. In addition, WMATA is receiving nearly $202 million in grants from the federal government to fund American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects. The funds are spent in 30 projects which include information technology, facilities maintenance, and vehicles and vehicle parts.

On January 14, 2010, Catoe announced his resignation from Metro, effective April 2, 2010. He was replaced on April 3, 2010 by Interim General Manager Richard Sarles. Sarles became one of three finalists interviewing for the permanent position, and later became the permanent General Manager on January 27, 2011.

Board of directors

WMATA was originally set up with a board of directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

, of twelve members. Of those, six were voting members, and six were alternates. In response to the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, the WMATA Compact was amended on August 19, 2009 to allow the appointment of four additional Board members by the federal government, bringing the total to sixteen.

, there are a total of fourteen Board members; seven voting members and seven alternates. Virginia, Maryland, and the District have each appointed two voting members and two alternate members. The Federal Government, through the General Services Administration
General Services Administration
The General Services Administration is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1949 to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies. The GSA supplies products and communications for U.S...

, is authorized to appoint up to two voting and two alternate members, but has appointed just one voting and one alternate member.

The position of board chairman rotates between the three jurisdictions. Board members serve without pay, but may be reimbursed for actual expenses. The board appoints a General Manager as CEO to supervise the day-to-day operation of the Authority. Under the terms of the "Procedures for WMATA Board of Directors", none of the individual board members, including the Chairman, have any power to act regarding the operations of the Authority or to issue instructions to the General Manager or employees; only the entire board as a body has power to instruct the General Manager.

The WMATA board approves its annual budget. For fiscal year 2010, the budgeted expenditures totalled $2.10 billion with the largest portion, $1.36 billion, including debt service, dedicated to operating the system. The budget contained approximately 10,800 authorized staff positions. In fiscal year 2010, 31.1% of revenues came from capital contributions, 20.2% from passenger revenues, 32.1% from local jurisdiction operating subsidies, 3.5% from interest income, 1.9% from advertising revenue, 1.1% from rental revenue, and 0.1% from other sources.

The WMATA board has the following standing committees: Safety and Security Committee, Finance and Administration Committee (with a Audits and Investigations subcommittee), Customer Service and Operations Committee (with a Technology Review subcommittee), Policy, Program Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee and the Joint Development and Real Estate Committee.

Management

The General Manager is the chief executive officer of WMATA and leads all staff except that the General Counsel, Inspector General and Board Secretary report directly to the board. WMATA has a Chief Safety Officer which reports to the general manager. The safety of the system is independently reviewed by the Tri-State Oversight Committee and the National Transportation Safety Board
National Transportation Safety Board
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine...

. On March 4, 2010, the Federal Transit Administration
Federal Transit Administration
The Federal Transit Administration is an agency within the United States Department of Transportation that provides financial and technical assistance to local public transit systems. The FTA is one of ten modal administrations within the DOT...

 issue an Audit of the State Safety Oversight (SSO) program overseeing Metro which criticised the SSO as being underfunded and poorly trained. In response, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia have increased their SSO funding and training for their employees responsible for safety oversight at metro.

Metrorail

Since opening in 1976, the Metrorail network has grown to include five lines, 86 stations, and 106.3 miles (171.1 km) of track. It is the second-busiest rapid transit system in the United States in number of passenger trips, after the New York City Subway
New York City Subway
The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit...

. There were 215.3 million trips, or 727,684 trips per weekday, on Metrorail in fiscal year 2008. In June 2008, Metro set a new monthly ridership record with 19,729,641 trips, or 798,456 per weekday. On April 2, 2010, Metrorail set a new ridership record of 891,240 trips. During 2010, Metrorail had 217.2 million trips. Fares vary based on the distance traveled and the time of day. Riders enter and exit the system using a stored-value card
Stored-value card
A stored-value card refers to monetary value on a card not in an externally recorded account and differs from prepaid cards where money is on deposit with the issuer similar to a debit card...

 in the form of a paper magnetic stripe farecard
Magnetic stripe card
A magnetic stripe card is a type of card capable of storing data by modifying the magnetism of tiny iron-based magnetic particles on a band of magnetic material on the card...

 or a proximity card
Proximity card
Proximity card is a generic name for contactless integrated circuit devices used for security access or payment systems. The standard can refer to the older 125 kHz devices or the newer 13.56 MHz contactless RFID cards, most commonly known as contactless smartcards.Modern proximity cards...

 known as SmarTrip
SmarTrip
SmarTrip is a plastic contact-less stored-value smart card used for payment within the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system in Washington, D.C...

. Metrorail's frequency of service and fares vary depending on the available subsidy, the particular transit line and the distance traveled.

As a part of 42 Metrorail stations, Metro offers parking for commuters. Most lots are on a first-come, first-served basis and fill up quickly each day. Thirty four stations offer reserved parking, with customers purchasing permits to park in specified spaces. Three metrorail stations (Greenbelt, Huntington, and Franconia-Springfield) have spaces reserved for multi-day parking for up to ten days. Parking fees are paid by SmarTrip card, but 19 stations also accept credit cards. Cash payments are not accepted for parking fees.

Metrobus

Metrobus' fleet consists of 1,480 buses covering an area of 1,500 square miles (3,900 km²) in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. There are over 300 bus routes serving 12,216 stops, including 2,398 bus shelters. In fiscal year 2009, Metrobus provided more than 133 million trips. During 2010, Metrobus had 123.7 million trips. On a typical weekday, it provides more than 400,000 trips.

Metro is currently in the process of having 203 New Flyer
New Flyer Industries
New Flyer Industries Inc. is a bus manufacturer in North America, headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It also has factories in Crookston and St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA.-History:...

 LFA, BRT
Bus rapid transit
Bus rapid transit is a term applied to a variety of public transportation systems using buses to provide faster, more efficient service than an ordinary bus line. Often this is achieved by making improvements to existing infrastructure, vehicles and scheduling...

 style buses delivered. These new buses will be painted in a Red/Silver (Local) and Blue/Silver(Express) paint scheme. 38 of these 203 buses will be painted in the Express paint scheme while the other 165 will be painted in the Local paint scheme. Metro is also currently in the process of repainting its current buses into the Local and Express paint scheme. Red/Silver painted buses will be used on local routes and Blue/Silver buses will be used on Express routes. These buses will have either "local" or "express" on the top of each side of the bus for easy identification. The numbering represents its region of operation. To differ the regions numbering system, Maryland letter is (prefix) to the route number and Virginia letter is (suffix) to the route number. For example: C22 (Maryland) & 15L (Virginia).

MetroAccess

MetroAccess is a paratransit service which WMATA provides through private contractors. It began operation in May 1994, and since that time, annual ridership has grown from 200,000 to over 2.4 million passengers. MetroAccess operates 365 days a year, providing door-to-door, shared rides reserved from one to seven days in advance. It is now the sixth largest paratransit service in the United States with a fleet of over 600 vehicles and over 1,000 employees. WMATA staff determines eligibility to use the service in response to written applications. The cost per passenger for MetroAccess is significantly higher than its fixed-route counterparts, and Metro has worked to provide as many opportunities to encourage and facilitate the use of fixed-route transit by its customers with disabilities.

Regional coordination

The agency's charter directs WMATA to create a unified regional transit system by coordinating other public and private agencies within its jurisdiction. Examples of its coordination efforts include: reducing unnecessary, duplicate services by other local transit systems; providing "SmarTrip
SmarTrip
SmarTrip is a plastic contact-less stored-value smart card used for payment within the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system in Washington, D.C...

" farecards for buses operated by other local transit agencies; and adding local bus schedules and commuter rail routes (such as Maryland's MARC and Virginia's VRE
Virginia Railway Express
The Virginia Railway Express is a regional/ commuter rail service that connects the Northern Virginia suburbs to Union Station in Washington, D.C., via two lines: the Fredericksburg Line from Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the Manassas Line from Broad Run/Airport station in Bristow,...

) to WMATA's online "Trip Planner" guide.

Transit Police

Congress established the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) on June 4, 1976. MTPD police officers have jurisdiction and arrest powers throughout the 1,500 square mile (3,900 km2) Transit Zone that includes Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia for crimes that occur in or against WMATA facilities. MTPD has an authorized strength of 420 sworn police officers, 106 security special police, and 24 civilian personnel. In December 2010, MTPD began conducting random searches of carry-on bags for explosive and weapons at checkpoints located at randomly designated Metrorail stations.

Inspector general

The Office of Inspector General was originally authorized by Board Resolution 2006–18, approved by the WMATA Board on April 20, 2006. With the amendments enacted on August 19, 2009, the Office of Inspector General became part of the WMATA Compact. This change was one of the requirements for the $1.5 billion federal grant offered by the Passenger Rail Investment Act of 2008. Helen Lew became the Metro's first Inspector General
Inspector General
An Inspector General is an investigative official in a civil or military organization. The plural of the term is Inspectors General.-Bangladesh:...

 on May 14, 2007, establishing the WMATA Office of Inspector General. Her appointment by the Board of Directors replaced the former Auditor General's Office. Unlike the Auditor General, the Inspector General and her office report directly to the Board and are organizationally independent of WMATA management.

General manager

On April 3, 2010, the Board of Directors appointed Richard Sarles, former Executive Director of New Jersey Transit
New Jersey Transit
The New Jersey Transit Corporation is a statewide public transportation system serving the United States state of New Jersey, and New York, Orange, and Rockland counties in New York State...

 as interim General Manager until a permanent appointment can be made. Sarles, 65, was offered the position of permanent General Manager but declined the appointment at that time. On January 27, 2011, the Board announced the selection of Sarles as its permanent General Manager.

Board members

The 2009 changes to the Compact, approved by Congress, increased the size of the board from 12 to 16 directors (eight principal and eight alternate), with the Federal government having the right to appoint two principal and two alternate directors. The board stands at 14 directors (seven principal and seven alternate). The position of Chairman rotates annually. Virginia board member Catherine Hudgins was elected Chairman for 2011–12. The method of appointment is specified by Article III Section 5 of the Compact. The Compact prohibits WMATA from paying board members However, Maryland pays its voting board members $20,000 per year and Virginia pays $50 per meeting. The District of Columbia does not compensate its board members.
Jurisdiction|DirectorStatusComments
District of Columbia (appointed by the Council of the District of Columbia) Tommy Wells
Tommy Wells
Tommy Wells is a politician from Washington, D.C. He is currently a member of the Council of the District of Columbia where he serves as a Democrat representing Ward 6.-Biography:...

principal member Chair DC Committee on Public Works and Transportation
Tom Downs principal member and First Vice Chair (former Amtrak President)
Michael A. Brown
Michael A. Brown
Michael A. "Mike" Brown, MPP is a politician in Ontario, Canada and was the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from October 2005 until October 2007...

alternate (Washington D.C. politician)
vacant alternate
Federal government (appointed by the General Services Administration
General Services Administration
The General Services Administration is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1949 to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies. The GSA supplies products and communications for U.S...

):
Mortimer Downey principal member and 2nd Vice Chair  
Marcel Acosta principal member Executive Director of the National Capital Planning Commission
Anthony R. Giancola alternate P.E.
Professional Engineer
Regulation of the engineering profession is established by various jurisdictions of the world to protect the safety, well-being and other interests of the general public, and to define the licensure process through which an engineer becomes authorized to provide professional services to the...

On April 28, 2011 Giancola, who had previously served as a District of Columbia alternate, was sworn in as a Federal alternate.
Maryland (appointed by the Washington Suburban Transit Commission): Michael D. Barnes
Michael D. Barnes
Michael Darr Barnes represented the eighth district of Maryland in the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 1987 and was the president of the Brady Campaign gun control organization from 2000 through 2006.After serving in the Marine Corps , being discharged with the rank of...

principal member (Montgomery County
Montgomery County, Maryland
Montgomery County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland, situated just to the north of Washington, D.C., and southwest of the city of Baltimore. It is one of the most affluent counties in the United States, and has the highest percentage of residents over 25 years of age who hold post-graduate...

)
Alvin Nichols principal member (Prince George's County
Prince George's County, Maryland
Prince George's County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland, immediately north, east, and south of Washington, DC. As of 2010, it has a population of 863,420 and is the wealthiest African-American majority county in the nation....

)
Artis Hampshire-Cowan alternate (Prince George's County
Prince George's County, Maryland
Prince George's County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland, immediately north, east, and south of Washington, DC. As of 2010, it has a population of 863,420 and is the wealthiest African-American majority county in the nation....

)
Kathy Porter alternate (Montgomery County)
Virginia (appointed by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission
Northern Virginia Transportation Commission
The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission is an independent agency in the Commonwealth of Virginia to promote and improve transportation. It covers the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and the Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax. NVTC manages the Northern Virginia...

):
Mary Hynes
Mary Hynes (politician)
Mary Hughes Hynes is an American politician from Arlington, Virginia.-Biography:Hynes graduated from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph. In 1978 she married Patrick Hynes , a widower with two daughters. The couple went on to have a son and two more daughters of their own, and settled in...

principal member (Arlington County
Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The land that became Arlington was originally donated by Virginia to the United States government to form part of the new federal capital district. On February 27, 1801, the United States Congress organized the area as a subdivision of...

)
Catherine Hudgins principal member and Chairman (Fairfax County
Fairfax County, Virginia
Fairfax County is a county in Virginia, in the United States. Per the 2010 Census, the population of the county is 1,081,726, making it the most populous jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with 13.5% of Virginia's population...

)
William D. Euille
William D. Euille
William D. "Bill" Euille is the mayor of Alexandria, Virginia. He is also one of two alternates representing Virginia on the Board of Directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority....

alternate (City of Alexandria
Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...

)
Jeffrey C. McKay alternate (Fairfax County)


As of March 2011, the federal General Services Administration has appointed to the Board two of the four members it is authorized, two principal members and no alternate member.

On February 17, 2011, outgoing 2010–11 WMATA Board Chairman Peter Benjamin announced he was leaving the board and will be replaced by former Congressman Michael D. Barnes
Michael D. Barnes
Michael Darr Barnes represented the eighth district of Maryland in the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 1987 and was the president of the Brady Campaign gun control organization from 2000 through 2006.After serving in the Marine Corps , being discharged with the rank of...

. On that date, the new Governance Committee of the WMATA Board, which is chaired by Mary Hynes, held its first meeting and established a work plan to develop a new relationship between the Board and WMATA management. The Committee will draft new bylaws that will better define the role and term of the WMATA Board Chairman. The Governance Committee will also draft a code of conduct for board members.

Funding

Fares and other revenue fund 57.6% of the Metro's daily operations while state and local governments fund the remaining 42.4%. Since the Metro's inception, the federal government has provided grants for 65% of the system's capital costs. Metrorail is unusual among major public transportation systems in having no dedicated source of funding. Instead, each year WMATA must ask each local jurisdiction to contribute funding, which is determined by a formula that equally considers three factors:
  1. population density
    Population density
    Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

    , as of the 2000 Census;
  2. average weekday ridership;
  3. number of stations in each jurisdiction.

Under this formula, the District of Columbia contributes the greatest amount (34%), followed by Montgomery County (18.7%), Prince George's County (17.9%), Fairfax County (14.3%), Arlington County (9.9%), the City of Alexandria (4.7%), the City of Falls Church
Falls Church, Virginia
The City of Falls Church is an independent city in Virginia, United States, in the Washington Metropolitan Area. The city population was 12,332 in 2010, up from 10,377 in 2000. Taking its name from The Falls Church, an 18th-century Anglican parish, Falls Church gained township status within...

 (0.3%), and the City of Fairfax
Fairfax, Virginia
The City of Fairfax is an independent city forming an enclave within the confines of Fairfax County, in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. Although politically independent of the surrounding county, the City is nevertheless the county seat....

 (0.3%). From time to time, a local jurisdiction will agree to subsidize a specific fare, with the jurisdiction funding the cost of the subsidy in addition to its contribution under the above formula. For example, the District of Columbia subsidized the fares charged at Metrorail stations located in economically challenged neighborhoods.

The cost of Metrobus is allocated under a formula which considers the excess of expenses over revenues from specific bus routes. The cost of MetroAccess is allocated under a different formula, which divides MetroAccess costs by the number of trips requested by riders who reside in each jurisdiction.

In 2004, the Brookings Institution
Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., in the United States. One of Washington's oldest think tanks, Brookings conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and...

 released a report entitled "Deficits by Design" that found the agency's serious budgetary challenges owe in large part to its problematic revenue base. Most notably, Brookings found that WMATA's extraordinary lack of dedicated funding sources has necessitated an over-reliance on annually appropriated support that makes the agency vulnerable to perennial financial crises. As a result, the region's political and business leaders created a committee to look at new ways to fund the system, including some type of dedicated tax.

Title VI of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, signed into law by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 on October 16, 2008, authorized a grant of $1.5 billion over a 10-year period for Metrorail capital maintenance projects. The grant was contingent upon the establishment of dedicated revenue sources for the Metro by the Compact jursidctions. An amendment to the Metro's Compact on August 19, 2009 added the requirement for payments "from dedicated funding sources" by the Compact's participating jurisdictions. In June 2010, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
Bob McDonnell
Robert Francis "Bob" McDonnell is an American politician who has been the 71st Governor of Virginia since January 2010. A former lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, McDonnell served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1993 to 2006 and served as Attorney General of Virginia from 2006...

 threatened to withhold Virginia's WMATA funding unless the composition of WMATA's board is modified to allow Virginia's Governor to appoint two of the four Virginia seats, instead of the localities. On June 17, 2010, Federal Transit Administrator
Federal Transit Administration
The Federal Transit Administration is an agency within the United States Department of Transportation that provides financial and technical assistance to local public transit systems. The FTA is one of ten modal administrations within the DOT...

 Peter Rogoff required a formal commitment from Virginia to match its share of the federal funds if the federal funding is to continue. On July 1, 2010, the WMATA Board of Directors approved an agreement with Virginia to provide its share of matching funds without regard to McDonnell's request for Board seats. Based on this agreement, the federal funds were reconfirmed, and WMATA was able to order an $886 million contract for 428 new metrorail cars. McDonnell pressed for a Board seat again in 2011, and used his amendatory veto authority to amend the 2010-11 budget to require the NVTC to appoint someone of the Governor's choosing to fill one of the NVTC seats on the WMATA Board.

In the course of considering a continuing resolution for federal fiscal year 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives sought to defund all "earmarks" including the $150 million annual installment toward the $1.5 billion in federal matching funds. On February 16, 2011, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) offered an amendment to reallocate $150 million from farm subsidy payments to meet this obligation, but the amendment was ruled out of order. The suspension of the federal appropriation also calls into question the matching funds from the individual jurisdictions for capital projects. On March 1, 2010, Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
Bob McDonnell
Robert Francis "Bob" McDonnell is an American politician who has been the 71st Governor of Virginia since January 2010. A former lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, McDonnell served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1993 to 2006 and served as Attorney General of Virginia from 2006...

 wrote to Congress urging continuation of the federal funds. The continuing resolution for the remainder of 2011 ultimately included the federal matching funds.

On June 24, 2010, WMATA adopted a six-year capital spending plan totalling $5 billion. The plan is funded by the $3 billion from the 2008 Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and increased funding from the participating jurisdictions. The plan includes rebuilding much of its infrastructure for improved safety. The NTSB had recommended replacing Metrorail's oldest series of railcars as uncrashworthy, and the spending plan would replace those cars.

The 57% funding of WMATA from fares compares with New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority which receives 53% of its funding from fares and car tolls. The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority receives of 31.8%. of its funding from fares.

In an effort to gain revenues, WMATA has started to allow retail ventures in Metrorail stations. WMATA has authorized DVD-rental vending machines and ticket booths for the Old Town Trolley Tours and is seeking additional retail tenants.

The WMATA staff preliminary budget for 2011-12 shows an $89 million operating deficit. This deficit can be addressed by fare increases, service reductions, or increased subsidies from the participating local jurisdictions.

Safety

In recent years, WMATA has drawn criticism for a neglect of safety in both its rail and bus systems. Problems include problems with the system designed to prevent train collisions and escalators failing or breaking apart while in service. The National Transportation Safety Board
National Transportation Safety Board
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine...

 (NTSB) has recommended that WMATA invest $1 billion in needed safety improvements. A December 2008 report by the WMATA Inspector General documented that Metro's System Safety and Risk Management Office was bypassed when changes were made to Metrorails operating procedures, even though that office's review and approval was required as a matter of policy. On June 22, 2009, two Metrorail trains collided between the Takoma and Fort Totten Metro stations. In February 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board conducted a public hearing during which witnesses testified about problems with the safety culture
Safety culture
Safety culture is a term used to describe the way in which safety is managed in the workplace, and often reflects "the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to safety" .-Defining safety culture:...

 at WMATA. The NTSB's final report on the accident commented that "[t]he failure of WMATA engineers and technicians or managers to properly address track circuit anomalies is symptomatic of the larger safety culture issues within the organization."

Safety concerns have grown to the point that the region's Congressional delegation introduced the "National Metro Safety Act of 2011," which would establish federal safety standards for heavy rail mass transit systems. In response, WMATA is replacing its track control system and ordered an immediate inspection of all of its escalators. That inspection showed that over 10 percent of the escalators had faulty brakes.

Elevator and escalator service are a public concern prompting WMATA to post a webpage that is updated daily to notify users of elevator and escalator outages. The NTSB has criticised the ability of Metrorail's Series 1000 cars to withstand collisons even at very low speeds. WMATA has ordered new cars to replace its Series 1000 fleet.

Future expansion


WMATA and its local jurisdictions developed a six-year, $5 billion "Capital Improvement Program" (CAP) which took effect on July 1, 2010, and will expire on June 30, 2016. Under CAP, the local jurisdictions will fund capital projects (through the sale of municipal bonds) with matching funds provided by the federal government. CAP projects include purchasing new rail cars, rehabilitating three rail lines, replacing three bus garages, implementation of NTSB safety recommendations and purchasing new track maintenance equipment and overhauling Metrorail station elevators and escalators.

, the Metrorail is being extended to provide service to the Tysons Corner
Tysons Corner, Virginia
Tysons Corner is an unincorporated census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. Part of the Washington Metropolitan Area located in Northern Virginia, Tysons Corner lies between the community of McLean and the town of Vienna along the Capital Beltway . The population was...

 area of Virginia, with further extension to Dulles Airport. Phase I to Tysons Corner is expected to be completed in 2013. Phase II to Dulles is expected to be completed in 2015. No stations will be opened until the completion of each phase. This will add another color to the Metrorail system, silver
Silver Line (Washington Metro)
The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, formally dubbed the Silver Line, is an extension of the Washington Metro rapid transit system, currently under construction with the goal of providing rapid transit service to Dulles International Airport and Tysons Corner...

. Utility relocation for Phase I began in mid-2008. The Silver Line is financed through toll increases on the Dulles Toll Road as well as a $900 million federal grant and a special taxing district on adjacent commercial properties. In contrast, a proposed new $270-million Potomac Yards metrorail stop on the Blue and Yellow Lines north of Braddock Road is to be funded by a special taxing district that will cover commercial properties and perhaps residential properties as well.

There has been speculation about a Georgetown Metrorail connector, an extension of the Green Line
Green Line (Washington Metro)
The Green Line is one of five heavy rail subway lines that constitute the Washington Metro rapid transit system in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The Green Line consists of 21 stations, with termini at Branch Avenue and at Greenbelt. The Green Line runs through Prince George's County,...

 northward to Baltimore's BWI Airport
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is an international airport serving the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area in the United States. It is commonly called BWI, BWI Airport or BWI Marshall, BWI being an initialism for "Baltimore/Washington International" and the...

, another line along I-395 or Columbia Pike in Virginia, and the Purple Line, which is a circular line to go along the Capital Beltway
Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway)
Interstate 495 is a Interstate Highway that surrounds the United States' capital of Washington, D.C., and its inner suburbs in adjacent Maryland and Virginia. I-495 is widely known as the Capital Beltway or simply the Beltway, especially when the context of Washington, D.C., is clear...

, particularly the portion between Bethesda
Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda is a census designated place in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, just northwest of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House , which in turn took its name from Jerusalem's Pool of Bethesda...

 and New Carrollton
New Carrollton, Maryland
New Carrollton is a city located in central Prince George's County, Maryland, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, population was 12,589.New Carrollton is 12.11 miles from central Washington, DC....

. An extension from Franconia/Springfield to Ft. Belvoir is also a possibility due to the Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure is a process of the United States federal government directed at the administration and operation of the Armed Forces, used by the United States Department of Defense and Congress to close excess military installations and realign the total asset inventory to reduce...

 process which will relocate thousands of area defense jobs at Ft. Belvoir by 2012. While there has been much discussion about all of these extensions, none are in any official planning stage.

Regarding Metrobus improvements, General Manager Sarles reported, "Bus service will benefit from new technology that integrates fare box, destination signage and next bus systems to improve our reliability and customer information delivery. And, we will begin work in certain priority bus corridors that will deliver faster travel times for bus customers. Additionally, I look forward to working with the District of Columbia on potential bus rapid transit service improvements, such as curb running and signal preference to make bus service even more attractive, efficient, and an even more powerful antidote to traffic congestion."

WMATA is also actively participating in the development of streetcar
DC Streetcar
The DC Streetcar is a surface light rail and streetcar network under construction in Washington, D.C. The streetcars will be the first to run in the District of Columbia since the dismantling of the previous streetcar system in 1962...

 or "light rail" service in the region, including proposals for Anacostia, Bethesda, and Arlington
Pike Transit Initiative
The Pike Transit Initiative is a collaborative project in Northern Virginia between Arlington and Fairfax counties and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to bring transit improvements to the Columbia Pike corridor...

. Ground was broken for the Anacostia Line on November 13, 2004, but funding difficulties have repeatedly delayed the project. In all, the region has five different streetcar proposals, which would cost an estimated $4.2 billion and would compete with other areas for federal transit funding.

See also



External links

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