Norton touts DC Metro money in DOT funding bill

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) touted the inclusion of $150 million for the Washington, D.C., Metrorail subway system in a bill that provides funding for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development that was approved by a House committee on Wednesday.

The funding was included in a $52 billion bill for the agencies that was approved this week by the House Appropriations Committee.

The measure included $1.8 billion in spending cuts compared to this fiscal year, but Norton said Thursday that the Metro funding came out unscathed.

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“Even before the budget cuts and sequester, it has been a struggle to get the full $150 million each year for WMATA, and it is what we got this year in the House committee and have gotten every year,” Norton said in a statement. 

“Although the president fully funded this installment, the House committee makes its own judgment," Norton continued. "I believe there is increasing recognition among members of Congress that WMATA serves their constituents, their staff, federal employees, and nearly 20 million visitors to the District each year.” 

Congress committed to provide $1.5 billion to the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA), which runs the D.C. Metro system, over 10 years in a 2008 bill to boost passenger rail safety.

Norton said the funding that was approved for the 2015 fiscal year was the sixth payment of ten that the federal government has scheduled for the D.C. Metro system.

The capital area transit agency has received federal subsidies, as well as money from state and local governments in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, since it was first constructed in the 1970s.
 
The Washington Metro system is the second busiest transit system in the U.S., trailing only the New York City subway in number of daily passengers.

The D.C. Metro normally carries more than 700,000 passengers per day. By comparison, the New York City subway averages 7.5 million passengers on a daily basis.

The New York subway has 59 miles of tracks and 458 stations. Washington, D.C.'s Metrorail has 106 miles of track and 86 stations.