WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Lawmakers in Washington are expressing their outrage after The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission released their safety audit of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin said the report is “unacceptable and disappointing.”
The recent audit showed an ongoing and toxic workplace culture. This was the first audit of the safety commission since the commission was established in 2017.
Cardin is asking for an immediate response from Metro’s leadership.
“We had so many briefing and legislative changes to make it clear that safety had to be their top priority,” said Sen. Cardin in a phone interview Wednesday. “It was heartbreaking…It was disturbing and shows us that we still might have dangerous situations in WMATA which is a major priority of our delegation which is the safety of the system.”
Cardin along with fellow Maryland Senator, Chris Van Hollen (D), and Virginia Senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (D) issued a joint statement:
“We are appalled and disappointed by the audit released today from the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. This latest report of a ‘toxic’ culture in the heart of Metrorail operations is wholly unacceptable and requires an immediate, detailed response from Metro leadership. The lives of riders and staff – Marylanders, Virginians, Washingtonians, and individuals from all over the world – are at risk every time a Metrorail train runs. Safety must be paramount in every aspect of their operations.
“For more than a decade, since the federal government began providing annual funding for WMATA operations, we have worked in tandem to pass legislation and provide federal resources to improve safety and create a safety-based culture of operations at WMATA. The latest safety audit from the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, which we helped usher into existence in 2017, draws a picture of a hostile workplace and potentially dangerous, distracting behavior at the Rail Operations Control Center. This is inexcusable.
“We already have asked the Safety Commission for a detailed briefing on their findings and we will be asking WMATA to provide details on its plan to finally put safety first for Metrorail and the full WMATA system. We will continue to follow this closely until these issues are properly resolved. ‘Safety first’ is not simply a slogan but it must be embedded in the culture and the routines of the agency that runs our nation’s public transit system.”Joint Statement from Sen. Cardin, Van Hollen, Warner, and Kaine