WASHINGTON — WMATA held its first public hearing out of a series on Monday regarding the proposed Fiscal Year 2023 budget, which is set to begin July 1.
Metro said that the $4.8 billion proposed capital and operating budget is focused on providing safe, reliable and affordable transit to the region, introducing new fare, service improvements and making previous 2021 fare and service changes permanent.
“This includes more frequent bus and rail service, a $2 transfer discount providing free bus fare on all regular routes when transferring to/from rail, discounted passes and bonus rewards, and cheaper weekend and late-night fares,” Metro stated.
Metro went on to specify that the budget supports the expansion of Metrorail service, as they intend to add seven new stations with the opening of the final phase of the Silver Line to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County, as well as the completion of the new Potomac Yard Station.
Topics broached by members of the public in Monday's hearing included changing the variable fare to a fixed fare, as well as fare caps and more equitable bus service across areas.
There will be a total of three public hearings and the upcoming two will have both virtual and in-person public participation options, as the first meeting did. They will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 8 and Wednesday, Feb. 9, both at 6 p.m., in Northwest D.C. at 600 5th Street and in College Park, Maryland at 7401 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 201, respectively. Metro specified that all hearing locations are accessible via Metrorail or Metrobus.
Public feedback will be provided to Metro's Board of Directors as part of the final decision-making process.
WMATA provided the following details on how to participate.
Phone: Call 855-925-2801 and enter meeting code 8563. No preregistration is available.
Video: Preregister by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. the business day before the public hearing.
In-person: Preregister by emailing email@example.com or calling 202-962-2511 by 5 p.m. the business day before the public hearing. You can also register on-site.
In-person public hearings are subject to mask and social distancing requirements. In order to minimize crowding and maintain social distancing, those attending in person are being asked to leave after providing their testimony. Public hearings may shift to virtual-only due to pandemic-related health restrictions. We encourage you to participate virtually.
Those unable to participate in the public hearing may provide feedback until 5 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022:
Online: Take a survey, provide written comments, and upload documents at wmata.com/budget.
Mail: For those without access to computers or the internet, comments may also be mailed to:
Office of the Board Corporate Secretary
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
600 Fifth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001.
A summary of key proposals and additional information about the proposals and ways to provide feedback is available at wmata.com/budget.