WMATA, Metropolitan Washington COG to develop unified regional transit plan

April 11, 2024
The initative builds on recent coordination related to WMATA's Fiscal Year 2025 financial challenges.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board of Directors have partnered together to launch a new joint initiative to develop a unified vision for transit service in the region. The agencies will be holding a meeting on May 1 and will continue months-long discussions about how to efficiently provide, fund and govern public transit, which is central to the region’s transportation, economic and sustainability goals.

The initiative builds on recent coordination related to WMATA's Fiscal Year 2025 financial challenges. It also provides an opportunity for the region to act with urgency to fully address complex, long-term transit needs.

“World-class regions are built on world-class transit and it’s up to us, as leaders, to advance this vision,” said  Metropolitan Washington COG Board Chair Charles Allen. “WMATA’s financial challenges remain but our region worked together to solve the next year or two while we focus on the region’s long term transit needs but that crisis creates an opportunity in this moment and it’s one I’m confident we can meet. We look forward to creating a comprehensive and inclusive effort that will bring together area governments and agencies and all the key stakeholders from the business, labor and civic sectors.”

“The WMATA Board of Directors welcomes this collaborative approach to solve long-standing issues that severely impact our future,” said WMATA Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg. “Both WMATA and COG have a responsibility to lead regional transportation planning and this joint initiative begins to fulfill that role. I look forward to working with our regional leaders in the coming months.”

Leaders from both boards agree this collective effort is needed to unlock the full potential of the region’s transit network, which is made up of more than a dozen rail and bus providers—including WMATA.

“This joint initiative is an important step towards a collaborative approach to regional problem solving,” said WMATA General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke. “Our leaders have already made good-faith efforts to address some of WMATA's ongoing financial challenges. I am confident this important work will allow us to look at the region holistically and move towards solutions that benefit us all.”

“Our public transit network is our region’s most significant, shared asset,” said Metropolitan Washington COG Executive Director Clark Mercer. “I could not be more pleased our leadership is seizing this valuable opportunity to collaborate and ensure the region’s public transit is positioned for long-term success.”