Today the Maryland House of Delegates voted on a metro funding bill that originally provided $150 million in annual funding for the WMATA system in the DC region to begin to fix maintenance issues, improve reliability, and bring sustainability to metro operations.
The Baltimore region's transportation system was not initially included in this bill.
Along with the WMATA region MetroNow Coalition, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, and 1000 Friends of Maryland, Bikemore worked behind the scenes to draft amendments including the Maryland Transit Administration, which was facing similar, but less reported challenges, hoping to push for inclusion of increased resources for MTA in this bill.
That very week, Maryland Transit Administration's very real challenges became clear with the sudden shut down of our metro system due to rail wear.
As a result of our joint advocacy and with support of our Baltimore delegation, our proposed amendments were successfully introduced and passed today. They require:
- A minimum 4.4% increase in MTA operating funds starting July 1, 2019 and continuing for at least the following two years.
- An appropriation beyond current planned capital investments of at least $29.1 million in each of the above three years.
- A maintenance and condition audit of all capital assets (similar to the one undertaken by WMATA that resulted in the $150 allocation in this bill).
- Development of a comprehensive 30 year regional transit plan to replace the 2002 Baltimore Regional Rail Plan and regular updates to that plan.
The legislation is now heading to the Senate, where these same amendments will be introduced by the Baltimore delegation. We will press for passage of the bill including these amendments on the Senate side, so we can send this bill to the governor's desk for signature.