Wilson fears WMATA’s proposed cuts to bus transit will affect essential workers

Virginia

On Thursday he shared the letter he penned to WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefield.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — In September, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) released its updated budget for the fiscal year 2021, which takes into account the losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Justin Wilson of the City of Alexandria fears WMATA’s proposed cuts will affect the city’s most vulnerable populations. On Thursday he shared the letter he penned, along with the city manager and city council, to WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefield. 

“While we understand the uniqueness of the current situation,” the mayor said, “we are concerned some of the bus service cuts may have too great a negative impact on our essential workers and travelers who have limited other options.” 

In its September report, WMATA found “at its current burn rate, CARES Act funds will not support the full fiscal year.” The authority reportedly identified $30 million of potential deferrals “that will not have an impact on safety or state of good repair efforts,” but in his letter, Wilson says WMATA is proposing $20 million more in cuts than necessary.

WMATA is proposing cuts to some of its bus service in the city. “We are particularly concerned about cutting off service from the West End of Alexandria to the Pentagon,” Wilson wrote. Alexandria’s West End is home to many low-income workers and households of color. 

The city completed the Alexandria Transit Vision Plan: an all-day network for the city coming in 2022 and 2030. Wilson is also requesting WMATA restores routes in collaboration with the city and its DASH bus services.

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