The Cost of Doing Nothing

July 23rd, 2013

What happens if Metro Bus-Nationals-071912-16completes MetroForward and ceases there? Simply put, the region cannot afford for Metro to get the system back to where it should have been, but stop short of preparing the system for the growth that has already created overcrowding conditions and service disruptions, let alone prepare for additional growth that has yet to come.

Note that the region is already the most congested area in the country, and Metro is a huge part of what keeps this region moving and working in spite of its transportation gridlock. Stopping short of implementing Metro 2025 and Momentum means that the region’s attractiveness as a place to live and work may be threatened. The region could face the following consequences:

  • Metro will degrade quickly with more delays and service disruptions – visible progress will be lost;
  • Shoulder-to-shoulder, rush hour conditions experienced today on an increasing number of rail lines and stations will grow system-wide and become worse;
  • Crowding similar to Presidential Inauguration Days will likely become the norm;
  • Customers will be left with 1970s-era communication and trip planning services;
  • Residents would have fewer jobs within an acceptable commuting distance and employers would have access to a much smaller pool of employees; and
  • The regional transit system will advance towards antiquity, harming the region’s competitive advantage for talent, jobs and investment dollars.

Without strong commitments not only to rehabilitate and repair, but also to bold visions for the future of the region, the region’s future growth will be challenged. Some have even gone so far as to question whether or not the Washington region can achieve its bold growth projections without a renewed focus on transit – especially as transit investments are critical components of the assumptions feeding the forecasts. Metro can and should play an important role in developing this network, advocating for connections and projects to create a seamless experience for the customer, and identifying the most promising projects that provide the greatest regional benefit. However, it can only do so if it has the resources and resolve to address its own critical needs and improve its current and future health.

Metro may be the only entity capable of leading and cultivating a coordinated, efficient, and cost-effective transit solution suitable for the region’s needs. In fact, Article VI of the WMATA Compact defines the Authority’s responsibilities to develop and revise a Mass Transit Plan for the regional system.

Taking leadership in the region and assuming these responsibilities, however, cannot take place if the region’s largest transit provider and only entity chartered by law to organize the regional transit system faces capacity limitations that might negatively impact operations.

For more information:

Download both the full Momentum plan and the Executive Summary.

Regional support is important to making Momentum a reality! A number of regional stakeholders have already endorsed Momentum. Please sign on and add your name to endorse Momentum and send the message that public transit is vital to the National Capital Region.

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