CommunityWilliam J. Ford

Metro Committee Raps Hogan’s Funding Proposal

In a last-minute effort to seek support for funding Metro, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan proposed Thursday a plan to cover the transit agency’s $2 billion budget shortfall, but the proposal was met with sharp criticism.

Hogan’s proposal, presented to Metro’s finance committee by chairman Michael Goldman, calls for D.C., Maryland, Virginia and the federal government to each contribute $125 million until fiscal year 2022. The amount would make up for the $2 billion gap in the agency’s capital budget.

Jack Evans and Corbett Price, who represent D.C. on the transit agency’s board of directors, called the introduction of the resolution “political theater.”

“This is a resolution the District of Columbia 100 percent does not support,” Evans, who wasn’t present for the proposal, said in a telephone interview.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, who presented a proposed $3.1 billion fiscal year 2019 budget, said the proposal offers a solution.

Metro's finance committee discuss the general manager's proposed $3.1 billion fiscal 2019 budget during the weekly board meeting at agency headquarters in northwest D.C. on Nov. 2. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Metro’s finance committee discusses the general manager’s proposed $3.1 billion fiscal 2019 budget during the weekly board meeting at agency headquarters in northwest D.C. on Nov. 2. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

“There’s obviously differing opinions going forward with this,” he said during a press conference. “I thought Governor Hogan’s proposal was something real and put on the table.”

Goldman, who represents Montgomery County in Maryland, acknowledged the state may not be able to provide any dedicated funding until after next year’s gubernatorial election.

“It’s simply not going to happen in time for us to adopt a budget for FY19, which has to be done by March or at the latest April, according to the general manager,” he said.

Goldman also admitted the measure would not only be a mere short-term fix, but “we have to cover the gap on the capital budget side … so the only way to do that is for the jurisdictions to come up with that money as cash on hand.”

Because of opposition from some members, including Christian Dorsey, who represents Arlington County, Virginia, the resolution was tabled.

Meanwhile, David Horner, who represents the federal government on the board, explained afterward that the transit agency must rethink its model of operation, comparing it to being “a Sears Roebuck in the era of Amazon.”

“At the end of the day, I don’t see the benefit to anyone asking for a sense of the board at this time,” Horner said. “What we need to do is dial down the political temper. When tempers are cooler, we collaborate better and reach consensual decisions that will put the system on the right trajectory.”

Regarding Hogan’s plan, Horner said, “I think the feds would be prepared to increase their funding of the system if they have confidence the system is right-footed operationally and has adopted a sustainable, operating model. They won’t just write checks for the status quo.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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