McAuliffe says no short-term fixes for Metro, to seek dedicated funding
by Amanda Iacone, WTOP
WASHINGTON — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe pledged to include dedicated funding for Metro in his next budget proposal and said that a short-term funding boost isn't going to help the struggling transit system.
McAuliffe wouldn't say how he would provide that dedicated funding for Metro — such as a new tax or a tax increase — and said the funding mechanism was intertwined with other budget changes he'll suggest when he introduces his budget to state lawmakers in December. He also wouldn't say if his proposal would provide more funding or match current funding levels.
Localities in Northern Virginia currently provide direct support to Metro using local tax dollars, mostly property taxes — with some additional funding from the state. They don't have the authority to create separate, regional tax that could to support the transit system.
McAuliffe, who spoke during WTOP's "Ask the Governor" on Wednesday, wouldn't commit to sending an additional $125 million over the next four years to Metro, as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has suggested. Hogan wants all four jurisdictions that support Metro — Maryland, Virginia, D.C. and the federal government — to commit to the extra money to give officials more time to come up with a longer-term solution.
"We need to address this issue now. …. We just need to move forward," McAuliffe said.
Large portions of the original system were due to be replaced in 2006 but weren't — the result is a crumbling system 11 years behind on repairs and updates, he said.
He said he would continue to work with Hogan and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to shrink the size of the Metro's governing board — from 16 members to five.
"I have said If you deal with the governance issues, I will put dedicated funding in the budget. I intend to do that," he said after the show.