Today, Wednesday, February 23, the Council's Committee on Transportation and the Environment will hold a public hearing beginning at noon on Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen's Metro For DC Act, which would provide any DC resident with a monthly balance of $100 on a registered SmarTrip card and create a dedicated fund of $10 million to improve bus service with a priority on neighborhoods historically underinvested in and transit-dependent.
"As we focus on a recovery that helps DC come back better than before, I believe this is the right investment in our residents and in the backbone of our regional economy - our WMATA system," said Councilmember Charles Allen. "It shouldn’t cost DC residents more to use our public transit system than any other form of getting around – and getting more people on WMATA has huge benefits for our city. But we can't focus on affordability at the expense of service, which is why I proposed a dedicated fund to improving bus service, where any investment we can do will make the overall experience better."
Link to the bill: https://lims.dccouncil.us/Legislation/B24-0429
So far, ANCs in Wards 6 and 7 have proactively said they urge the Council to pass Metro For DC. Pew Charitable Trusts did a Health Note to evaluate the bill’s public health impact, a practice which strives to remain neutral on legislation it evaluates.
About Metro For DC
Metro For DC would create a way for all DC residents to register a SmarTrip card and have it refresh to a $100 balance at the beginning of each month, similar to some employer-paid benefit programs. The balance would never exceed $100, so the District only pays for what a resident uses while riding Metrorail or Metrobus.
The law would also create a dedicated fund that requires DDOT to make improvements to bus service. That could include funding more District routes or reducing headways on existing routes. It could also be used to create dedicated bus lanes or improve bus shelters for those waiting.
The bill proposed to fund the benefits to residents by prioritizing increases in prioritizing increases in projected revenue. Between the time the Council approved the District’s budget and last December, the CFO increased revenue projections by $357 million in Fiscal Year 2022 and around $1.4 billion total between Fiscal Years 2022-25.
Learn more at https://www.metrofordc.com/.
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmembers Mary Cheh, Robert White, Janeese Lewis George, Brianne Nadeau, Anita Bonds, Christina Henderson, Kenyan McDuffie, and Brook Pinto have signed on as co-introducers. The bill was first introduced in March 2020, right before the global pandemic disrupted much of District life.
Erik Salmi | [email protected]