State Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn today announced that Maryland will withhold about $55.6 million in capital funds from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) due to the agency’s refusal to cooperate with state audits of Metro subsidies.
According to The Washington Post:
Rahn said that the state has increased its subsidy to Metro from $467 million in 2017 to a proposed $741 million in 2020 but that Metro “has failed to demonstrate how past allocations were spent and how additional funds will be spent in the future.”
The letter went on: “The continued stonewalling by [Metro] on compliance audits prevents the State from seeing what is occurring with the funds Maryland taxpayers provide.”
WMATA provides transit services (Metrobus, Metrorail, and MetroAccess paratransit) in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, the District of Columbia, and several cities and counties in northern Virginia. WMATA was created in 1967 by an interstate compact between the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
The Maryland Department of Transportation – Secretary’s Office (MDOT) enters into annual operating and capital grants agreements with the Washington Suburban Transit Commission (WSTC), which is the financial conduit for funding mass transportation projects in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties
A 2016 legislative audit recommended that MDOT establish a comprehensive process to verify that WMATA’s annual operating and capital grant subsidies are properly calculated. But Secretary Rahn says that WMATA was unwilling to comply with state auditors and refused to provide data for its fiscal year 2017 capital program.