U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today provided a $150 million grant to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to replace Washington Metro’s “1000-Series” rail cars. These cars were cited by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as a contributing factor to the severity of passenger injuries and the number of fatalities in the June 2009 Red Line crash near Fort Totten Station. Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia will also provide $150 million in matching local funds to help pay for the improvements.
“This money will let WMATA make important safety improvements to Washington’s Metrorail system,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “But to establish a standard level of safety across all transit systems, we urge Congress to pass the rail transit safety legislation proposed by the Obama Administration last year.”
In addition to $79.3 million to purchase as many as 300 new 7000-Series rail cars and $44.4 million for track rehabilitation, the remainder of the $300 million will be used to address other much-needed infrastructure projects within the system, such as Metrorail station improvements, the rehabilitation of track maintenance equipment, the replacement of track switching equipment, and elevator and escalator repairs. The grant also allocates $10.3 million for the transit agency to address safety recommendations made by the NTSB.Note the US DOT news release's phraseology: "LaHood today provided" not "taxpayers provided and LaHood awarded." Our betters are increasingly dropping any republican pretenses.