Metro Ready to Spend Stimulus Money

Metro says projects will create jobs and improve transit system.

With the stimulus plan now signed into law, Metro says it is ready to spend.  The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has what it calls "shovel-ready" plans for about $230 million in projects.
WMATA officials will present a list of ready-to-go projects Wednesday to the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board. The list includes $325 million of projects linked to safety, security and infrastructure.

Metro's Chief Administrative Officer Emeka Monome said Tuesday the projects include facility maintenance.  Metro plans to fix and upgrade everything from escalators to broken lighting fixtures.
"We actually have tens of millions of dollars in contracts available for people to compete for," Monome said.  "We're hoping to get the majority of those projects out within several weeks."
Metro believes the projects paid for by the federal stimulus money will create work for local businesses.
"We would love to see more resources, but whatever does come through we will be able to move quickly and see those investments made in the system."
President Barack Obama signed the stimulus package into law Tuesday.

Metro is facing a budget gap of $154 million -- the largest in the agency's 33-year history.

The money from the stimulus plan will not go toward construction of new stations.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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