Metro budget will not raise fares or cut service, but asks for more funding

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The latest Metro budget does not raise fares or cut service, news that's likely to make riders happy. However, the budget does call for an increase of $165 million in subsidies from D.C., Maryland and Virginia, something which is likely to be contested by state and district leaders. 

The budget calls for an increase in the operational budget by $29 million, and an increase in the capital budget by $136 million. The operational budget covers day-to-day costs that Metro will need, whereas the capital budget covers long-term investments.

Metro's General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said that the $136 million for the capital budget is a temporary fix, although more investment is needed. He has been calling for a "dedicated funding source" for years to keep up with the dated metro system.

Wiedefeld said that realistically, the system needs $500 million per year for ten years, to do the work that's needed.

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The latest budget does not pay for a number of projects and priorities. Wiedefeld said that it would not pay for any new bus or rail services. The budget also does not allocate funding to the second phase of  the Silver line. It also would not put money in a "rainy day fund," something which Wiedefeld has prioritized. Lastly, it would not add money for a pay raise for Metro workers. 

Complicating matters is that the federal money could be in question for future budgets. Currently, the federal government gives $150 million to the system. However this contract is set to expire in 2020, and so far it hasn't been expanded by Congress. 

Much of the information in this story came from our news partners at the Washington Post.