Metro has paid out $173 million in legal claims in the past five years, and the number jumped as the agency started to settle lawsuits stemming from a deadly 2009 crash.
The Washington Examiner reports that the transit agency's annual claims payments averaged around $30 million between 2008 and 2011. But in the fiscal year that ended in June, payments rose to $48.5 million. That represents about 3 percent of the transit agency's annual budget.
The Examiner reports that settlement costs from the crash that killed nine people and injured 80 others will stretch into the current fiscal year.
A Metro spokeswoman says without the crash-related payments, the amounts paid by Metro are consistent with what other major transit agencies pay for legal claims.