The state of Metro is so “dire” that entire Metro lines may need to be shut down for extended periods of time, Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans said Wednesday at a meeting, WTOP reports.
Metro needs federal money and time to fix the system, Evans said. Track work on nights and weekends will not sufficiently end the delays, single-tracking and dangerous malfunctions that have plagued the system, officials previously told News4's Adam Tuss.
Metro has plenty of plans and those plans need to be implemented soon, Evans said.
The comments come two weeks after Metro shut down the entire Metrorail system for an entire day in order to check 600 cables. The cables were linked to a fire at McPherson Square March 15 and a deadly smoke emergency in 2015 at L’Enfant Plaza, NBC Washington previously reported. Metro was able to check all of the cables and make repairs by shutting down entirely, officials said..
Ultimately, the decision to close down lines or alter service falls to Metro’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, who said he likely will release a plan next month that details coming changes -- including possible line closures.
“I’m keeping all my options open,” Wiedefeld told The Washington Post.
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Metro cannot keep going from “crisis to crisis,” Wiedefeld said. He wants to fix the systematic problems, but acknowledges riders will be affected.
Financial problems also are imminent for Metro. Next year, Metro is expected to face a budget shortfall, Evans said.
Still, Evans, who is also the D.C. Council member for Ward 2, said he wants to avoid cutting services or raising fares.
Officials discussed the future of Metro Wednesday at a summit of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. COG is a group of elected officials from D.C., Virginia and Maryland who plan transportation in the region.
The goal of the summit was to take the “first step” in restoring Metro to a “world-class” transit system.
Getting 100 area leaders together Wednesday was a key step in that process, Wiedefeld said.