Local Lawmakers to Cite Asbestos Report in Metro Funding Debate

Local lawmakers are calling for an end to the use of 1000-series Metro railcars after a News4 report showing hundreds of the cars contain asbestos.

Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and John Delaney (D-Md.) said Wednesday they plan to cite the News4 report in the upcoming debate of proposed funding for Metro’s program to purchase new rail cars.

“These are 40-year-old cars. This is the nation’s capital. It’s an incredibly important transportation system. Good reporting shows us that we have a problem here,” Rep. Delaney said.

“I’m very concerned workers or passengers have been exposed to asbestos. My guess is that it’s mostly contained. But it’s yet another reason we have to retire all of these 1000-series cars," Connolly said.

The House and Senate have each passed bills to fund Metro’s “capital improvements program,” which includes funding for the purchase of new rail cars. But there’s disagreement between the two chambers over how much to spend on the program.

The House version spends about $50 million less than the version approved by the Senate. A House committee official told News4 in April that the lower dollar amount would encourage Metro to improve its own financial health and services. 

Connolly and Delaney said they hope the information from the asbestos report will encourage other lawmakers to pass the House's version of the funding plan and provide Metro with the money it needs to purchase new, asbestos-free rail cars.

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