Washington, DC Metrorail Construction

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Since the initial groundbreaking ceremonies in December 1969, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) metrorail system has become one of the largest and most efficient systems in the country. On March 1976, Phase I of Metrorail opened for revenue service. This phase consisted of 4.2 miles. Five stations opened on the Red Line: Rhode Island Avenue, Union Station, Judiciary Square, Metro Center, and Farragut North. This first day of revenue service accommodated 19,913 passengers. As of September 1999, 78 stations have opened for revenue service. To date, the system has cost $8.8 billion. By the year 2001, Metrorail will consist of 83 stations and 103 miles of heavy rail line.

The original federal funding for construction of the Metrorail system was provided by the authority of the National Capital Transportation Act of 1969 (Public Law 91-143). This Act was subsequently amended on January 3, 1980 by Public Law 96-184, "The National Capital Transportation Amendment of 1979" (also known as the Stark-Harris Act) which authorized additional funding ($1.7 billion). The funds available under the Stark-Harris Act permitted the completion of 89.5 miles of the Metrorail system as provided under the terms of a Full Funding Grant Agreement executed with WMATA in July 1986. On November 15, 1990 by Public Law 101-551, "The National Capital Transportation Amendments of 1990" which authorized funding of $1.3 billion in federal funds or 62.5 percent matching Federal funds to finance construction of the remaining 13.5 miles of the 103-mile system. Full funding grant agreements were executed to complete the final 13.5 miles.

The Fast Track Program was conceived to save taxpayers $600 million in the construction of the remaining 13.5 miles of Metro by accelerating construction, shaving five years off previous schedules. The Fast Track Program was founded on the following principles:

  • To complete as much construction as possible within the available authorizations and local match;
  • The savings made in construction of any line will be applied to other lines
  • Construction of all remaining lines will proceed as rapidly as possible; and
  • Improved budgetary and scheduling controls will be used to maintain completion dates and control costs

The Fast Track consists of four segments:

  • Blue Line from Van Dorn Street to Franconia-Springfield containing 3.3 miles and one multi-modal station, opened for revenue service in June 1997.
  • Red Line from Wheaton to Glenmont providing 1.4 miles, one station and a rail car storage yard, opened in July 1998 for service.
  • Green Line from U Street-Cardozo to Fort Totten building 2.9 miles and two stations, opened in September 1999 for service; and
  • Green Line from Anacostia to Branch Avenue constructing 6.4 miles with five stations scheduled for completion in early 2001.

Total appropriations and obligations for Metrorail construction for fiscal years 1992 through 1999 are listed below. No additional funds were appropriated in FY 2000.

Contact: Lucille Pearson, Office of Program Management, 202-366-1650.

Table 42 Appropriations and Obligations for Construction of WMATA Metrorail

Fiscal Year Appropriations Obligations
1992 $95.9 $95.5
1993 $153.1 $153.1
1994 $198.8 $198.8
1995 $199.0 $199.0
1996 $199.0 $199.0
1997 $199.0 $199.0
1998 $199.0 $199.0
1999   $50.0     $0.0

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