The Metro requires $11.3 billion in the next 10 years for necessary repairs and refurbishments, but officials are unsure how these costs will be covered.

The House of Representatives passed legislation last Wednesday for $1.5 billion in federal funding for Metro to be distributed over 10 years. The bill now moves to the Senate for approval. But, John B. Catoe Jr., Metro’s general manager, said in a press conference last week that it will need $11.3 billion over 10 years to maintain its current level of service and expand its transit service to accommodate growing ridership.

ore than $7 billion alone would be used to replace railcars, repair leaky tunnels and fix crumbling platforms in order to keep Metro running safely and reliably, according to a press release from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. WMATA would also replace some 100 buses a year. Another $3.5 billion would address an expected 22 percent increase in Metro ridership to 1 million rides a day and a 9 percent increase in bus ridership to 600,000 trips a day.

“Over 300 of them are the original cars,” Chris Zimmerman, metro board chairman, said about the railcars used when Metro opened in 1976. “And those cars are over 30 years old.”

“[It is a] comprehensive plan in terms of what we would need, in terms of what we are looking for,” said Steven Taubenkibel, spokesperson from the media relations office of WMATA.

The plan accompanies an expected increase for federal government spending for Metro’s upkeep. It is estimated that 40 percent of riders during rush hour are federal employees.

Every year, Metro spends $50 million for the cost of maintaining its upkeep. It is the only major transit system that does not have a dedicated capital funding and relies on state and federal funding to cover its capital and operational costs. Rider fares and advertising revenue do not cover the costs of day-to-day operations and are subsidized by the governments of D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

But because of the current economic crisis, raising the money will be difficult. Though D.C., Maryland and Virginia were set to match the amount by contributing one third of $50 million each, Virginia was unable to raise the needed funds when the decision was struck down by the State Supreme Court.

“At the moment, I don’t know how we’re going to raise the money,” Zimmerman said.

Other than the traditional models for raising money, such as raising rider’s fares and parking fees, there are no new ways of raising the needed funds, according to Wilson Reynolds, director of constituent services to the office of Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), a member of the Metro Board.

Although the current Metro railway fares seem reasonable to Reynolds, raising fares would become a burden for many people who are already facing the hardships of the current economic slowdown.

D.C. is already experiencing a $131 million shortfall in its budget, and both Maryland and Virginia are falling below the red line.

“That’s a heck a lot of money,” Reynolds said. “These are very serious and hard decisions ahead, and the process is just beginning.”

Correction: The initial article incorrectly reported that Metro ridership is 100 million (ridership is 1 million) and that D.C., Maryland and Virginia were set to each contribute $50 million to Metro (they were each set to contribute one third of that). Additionally, Wilson Reynolds’ statement about ways for Metro to fundraise was not a direct quote.

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