Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the United States Congress jointly established an interstate compact in 1967, creating the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA or Metro) to plan, develop, build, finance, and operate a mass transit system in the national capital region. With almost 100 million riders in Virginia annually pre-pandemic, Metro is the largest transit provider in the Commonwealth.
DRPT has funding and oversight responsibilities over WMATA. In 2018, the General Assembly passed legislation to create a dedicated revenue stream for the WMATA Capital Fund. This dedicated funding is Virginia’s proportional regional share of $500 million in annual additional capital required for critical state of good repair needs. That same year, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) adopted policies to increase reporting requirements and implement financial penalties should the agency not meet certain requirements. DRPT reports to the CTB on WMATA’s compliance with statutory requirements and CTB policy annually.
DRPT oversees WMATA’s compliance with the following:
Operating Assistance Cap
The total Virginia operating subsidy in the approved WMATA budget cannot increase by more than three percent from the operating subsidy in the prior year’s budget, subject to certain legislative exclusions.
Capital Improvement Plan
The WMATA board must adopt a detailed capital improvement plan covering the current fiscal year and the next five fiscal years and hold a public hearing in a locality embraced by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), which provides representation for the Virginia local jurisdictions in the WMATA service area and appoints the Virginia WMATA board members.
WMATA is required to adopt a strategic plan every three years and hold a public hearing in a locality embraced by NVTC.
Alternates cannot participate at a WMATA Board meeting when a director is present. WMATA must approve bylaws prohibiting the participation of alternates.
- WMATA provides required documentation/certifications to DRPT that it is in compliance with the four provisions outlined above by June 30
- The Office of the Attorney General independently reviews for compliance with statutory requirements
- DRPT reviews for compliance with CTB policy requirements (non-statutory)
- DRPT presents recommendation for any enforcement actions to CTB
- CTB adopts resolution stating WMATA is in compliance or directs DRPT to withhold funding until WMATA complies with statutory requirements and/or CTB policy
CTB passed a resolution in October 2022 that WMATA was in compliance with all four provisions in FY22.