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Amendment To Metro Funding Killed In House

4:53 AM, Feb 16, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) - Republicans killed an amendment by Congressman Gerry Connolly to restore $150 million for Metro safety Tuesday night.

The amendment -- which was backed by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Reps. Jim Moran, Chris Van Hollen, and Donna Edwards, and DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton -- was killed when Republicans opposed the legislation and ruled it out of order.

According to Connolly's office, the amendment "would have reinstated the annual federal payment to Metro for fiscal year 2011, offsetting the cost by reducing direct federal farm subsidies, mostly to large agribusinesses."

The GOP appropriations bill considered this week eliminates the annual federal government payment for Metro.

"One year after the federal government made its first of 10 annual payments to Metro, the Republican majority is trying to break the agreement Congress made to match the funding provided by Virginia, Maryland, and DC," Connolly said in a statement.

According to Connolly, more than 40 percent of federal employees commute on Metro daily "and the federal government provides no subsidy to Metro other than this $150 million annual payment."

The original legislation authorizing the $150 million annual federal payment to Metro for safety and infrastructure improvements passed Congress in 2008 and the bill appropriating the funding passed in 2009 with the bipartisan support of the entire Virginia congressional delegation. The first payment was made in fiscal year 2010.

Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia each agreed to make $50 million annual payments to Metro to match the annual federal payment. The Metro board amended its compact to give the federal government two permanent seats on the board.

Connolly said the law is supposed to provide Metro with $3 billion over the next decade, with half paid by the federal government and half paid by Virginia, Maryland and DC.

The National Transportation Safety Board had identified more than $1 billion in needed Metro safety improvements.

The House of Representatives continues to work on the GOP bill to fund the government through September 30.

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