Sen. Tim Kaine rode Metro Monday to warn about the potential impact President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts could have on the transit agency.
Kaine (D-Va.) went to the King Street Station in Alexandria to tour the ongoing track work and ride the rails with Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld.
Kaine said Trump’s budget could make Metro worse than it is if Trump’s budget is approved.
“Starving it of the oxygen, starving it of the funding will hurt this system,” Kaine said. “Our region doesn’t work without Metro.”
Kaine said he’s open to a proposed fare hike for Metro as well as a change in who governs the transit agency.
“It’s really difficult to govern a system if you don’t have a certain investment, and that’s something that Metro struggles with,” he said. “We’ve got to provide them more certainty.”
Wiedefeld and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser met with Trump at the White House last week.
“We talked more about the importance of Metro to the region in terms of the million passengers we move a day, in terms of 40 percent of the peak hours being federal employees, what it means for the economy of this region,” Wiedefeld said. “So we talked in those terms.”
Kaine said he is confident the federal government will live up to its commitment to continue funding Metro at $150 million per year for the next two years, the extent of the current agreement. He also hopes that agreement can be renewed for an additional 10 years.