Senior Fellow at Cato Institute Suggests Shutting Down Metrorail

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A senior fellow with the think tank Cato Institute suggested Wednesday the Metrorail system should be shut down as ridership is way down and may not return for a while.

“Now is the best time of all to shut down the system,” Randal O’Toole said. “It’ll have the least disruption and we can replace the system with buses, which will work far better.”

He says for those who depend on Metro, a car may actually be a better option.

“In the long run I think it’ll be important to help low income people out of poverty by providing them with low interest loans to buy their first automobile,” he said.

“What a fringy proposal,” said Tom Hucker, who is on the Montgomery County Council Transportation Committee. “I’m guessing this right-wing author has a job where he gets to work from home and a nice car in the driveway, but for our essential workers, like our nurses, our firefighters and our grocery workers, they count on Metro to get them to work every day.”

“We have to focus on life after the pandemic, not just the present situation,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay said. “Everyone knows that post-pandemic traffic will return and demand for metro will return as well.”

O’Toole added Metro is a drag on taxes because it costs a lot to maintain.


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“You know it’s not about losing money or something like that, right? It’s a fact that there are people who need it and so the service should be available for people who need it,” one rider said.

Metro wouldn’t comment officially, but a source with the transit agency simply shrugged off the suggestion of shutting down the trains.

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