WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) testified before the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations during their hearing entitled “WMATA: Getting to a Culture of Excellence.” Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Click here to watch the hearing.
“Thank you, Chairman Connolly and Ranking Member Hice. I appreciate the opportunity to participate today and express what so many of my constituents in Maryland’s Fifth District are feeling when I say that Metro needs to do better. WMATA has to do a better job making Metro safer and more reliable.
“All who live, work, and visit our Nation’s Capital and its surrounding communities ought to be able to rely on their Metro – ‘America’s Metro.’ We cannot – and will not – give up on Metro. The WMATA board will soon be selecting a new CEO and General Manager at a time when Metro faces safety, reliability, and budgetary challenges. The selection of the next General Manager will have a lasting impact on Metro’s future.
“A new General Manager will need to establish a collaborative relationship with the workers and the unions representing them. He or she will also need to find solutions to the issues facing 7000-Series Rail Cars. The new General Manager will need to work with the safety commission to restore the public’s faith in Metro. He or she will also have to work with the Metro Transit Police Department to ensure that complaints are investigated and stations are safe.
“Whomever is selected will need to be open and honest with challenges facing Metro and willing to work to find solutions to those challenges. This may mean thinking outside the box to identify solutions that will improve Metro’s safety and reliability. Congress has a critical role to play in the future of Metro as well, and I want to thank the Chairman for his ongoing commitment to this effort.
“After coming to Congress, I worked across the aisle with Frank Wolf and others from around the region to secure the funding to grow the Metro system. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was signed into law last year will ensure that Metro receives an annual contribution of $150 million a year from the federal government through 2030.
“While we need to ensure that there is proper investment in Metro, money alone won’t solve its problems.
“The next General Manager and the WMATA board will need to take steps to restore trust by the public that Metro is moving in the right direction – that its leaders are focused on safety and improving the reliability of service. I hope that today’s hearing can help WMATA and Congress find a clear path forward in working together to build that trust and to take the steps needed to address the system’s pressing needs.
“Again, I want to thank Chairman Connolly and Ranking Member Hice, as well as the other Members of the Subcommittee, for their focus on this issue that is so important for my constituents and for all who live in the National Capital Region and who visit here from across the country.”