With issues of overcrowding and a need for sustainable revenue, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority rolled out a new six-year, $5 billion plan to move the transit system forward.
Metro officials presented their strategic plan, “Momentum, the Next Generation of Metro,” to the City of Falls Church council Monday night to gather input from city officials. Officials from the transit system are looking for ideas on what investments deliver improved service to more customers, what communities need enhanced Metro connectivity and how to strengthen transit in the downtown core.
“Over 35 years ago, this region made a decision to build around roads and rails,” said Shyam Kannan, managing director for Metro’s Office of Planning. “Today we see an ill effect of this system with crowding.”
With the new strategic plan, Kannan said Metro will lay new or replace 21 miles of track throughout the more than 100 miles of track in the system. Kannan said the transit system couldn’t meet the demands of the future as it is estimated there will be a 30 percent increase in population in the region and a 40 percent increase in employment. Mayor Nader Baroukh said council would write a resolution with ideas to help Metro move forward with their planning. The resolution will be voted on in council’s first meeting in February.
Vice Mayor Dave Snyder said it’s important for the transit system to come up with a way to effectively connect Skyline, Bailey’s Crossroads, Seven Corners and the City of Falls Church to Tysons.
Part of the plan is coming up with a plan to create a sustainable source of revenue to fund the transit system. Funding is needed to bring more eight car trains online throughout the system to address the overcrowding issue. Kannan said there are 100 people at anytime per car and the need for more rail cars is evident.
“There is nowhere to put those passengers,” Kannan said. “We know there is a connection between our system and job growth because businesses like to be located near Metro stations.”
For more information on Metro’s latest strategic plan, click here.
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