Washington, DC - Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (VA-10) and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement after the Omnibus Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017 was introduced with a provision including the federal government’s full $150 million obligation in resources to WMATA. Congresswoman Comstock worked with Congressman Diaz-Balart in securing the same funding in 2015:
“The federal government will again fulfill its statutory obligation to Metro by meeting its $150 million obligation to provide a dollar-for-dollar match in combination with Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia for Metro’s capital budget,” said Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA). “This funding partnership stems from a 2008 law that promised a 10-year federal commitment and much of these resources are used for safety improvements and replacing old rail cars and other equipment. I thank my friend and colleague, Mario Diaz-Balart, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, who has again shown that he appreciates Metro’s needs and has worked with us to include these important resources in the 2017 Omnibus. I continue to work on legislation that will reform Metro as a whole so it can become a reliable and safe system for the entire National Capital Region.”
“Congresswoman Comstock continues to be a powerful voice for Northern Virginia’s transportation needs,” said Chairman Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL). “As WMATA continues to mitigate infrastructure and safety concerns, her commitment to its oversight remains steadfast. I thank the Congresswoman for her dedication to ensuring we keep America moving efficiently and effectively.”
In 2008, Congress voted to create a matching grant program through the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) by which Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia each contribute $50 million for Metro’s capital needs, which is then matched by $150 million in federal funds. During each of the next seven years, Congress passed, in a bipartisan fashion, appropriations bills to fulfill its financial obligation to Metro. In 2015, some members attempted to cut this funding for Metro by 50%, which would have devastated an already-hurting transit system. Congresswoman Comstock worked with Chairman Diaz-Balart throughout the remainder of 2015 and, ultimately, the full $150 million federal share was included in the final Omnibus for FY 2016, passed in December of 2015. The funding included in the Omnibus for the remainder of FY 2017 again fulfills the federal obligation to Metro.