DC area lawmakers press for more new Metro rail cars

DC area lawmakers press for more new Metro rail cars
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Lawmakers who represent districts in the metropolitan Washington area are pressing for faster production of new train cars that are scheduled to replace the oldest cars on Washington, D.C.'s, Metrorail subway system. 

The lawmakers said after meeting with leaders of the company that manufacture the new rail cars, Japanase manufacturer Kawasaki, that increasing the production rate of the new subway vehicles is vitally important to efforts to boost the safety of transit system that serves the nation's capital area. 

“Replacing Metro’s oldest railcars is critical to improving rider safety and to addressing the daily overcrowding and reliability challenges our constituents face," the lawmakers said in a statement released after the meeting. 

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"As partners with Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia in financing the new 7000-series railcars, we wanted to stress the urgency of resuming full production and delivery to Kawasaki leadership," they continued. "This cannot be viewed as just another job. This is America’s subway serving our nation’s capital, and further delays will not be acceptable.”   

The new train cars, dubbed the 7000 series, have been touted as the largest technological advance in the 40-year history of the D.C. Metro system, which is the second busiest transit network in the U.S. 

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates the Metrorail system, has begun operating trains in the new series, but the agency has complained that mass production of vehicles has fallen far behind schedule. 

The agency has been under pressure to replace the oldest cars on its subway system, which have been in use since the 1970s and were blamed for a fatal crash in 2009 that killed nine passengers. 

Metro has said its expects to get 168 of the initial 748 7000 series rail cars it has ordered in the 2017 fiscal year after receiving only 72 as of last November. 

The agency has said forty of the new rail cars were approved for service by the same date, which are being used to operate at trains composed of the 7000 series cars on four of its six subway lines. 

The statement Thursday was released by Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyTrump, Obamas and Clintons among leaders mourning Aretha Franklin The Hill's Morning Report — Trump optimistic about GOP’s midterm prospects as Republicans fret Overnight Energy: New EPA chief faces test before Congress | Trump officials tout progress on air quality | Dem bill would force watchdog to keep investigating Pruitt MORE (D-Va.), John Delaney (D-Md.), Don Beyer (D-Va.),Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).