The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is hoping to temporarily stop some planned layoffs and service cuts this fiscal year if it receives the approximately $610 million aid it is expecting as its share from the latest federal Covid relief package.
“Thanks to the leadership of the regional Congressional delegation and Senator Warner, we will be able to keep transit employees working, providing essential service to customers in the national capital region through June 30th,” said Paul Smedberg, head of WMATA Board of Directors, in a press release. “However, we will need additional federal relief to avoid service reductions next fiscal year as the region stabilizes.”
On January 14, the Metro board will hold its Finance Committee meeting, where it will discuss a revised fiscal year 2021 budget and is likely to approve the decision on the planned layoffs and service cuts.
— Metro (@wmata) January 9, 2021
Metro made it clear in its statement that the amount of money expected from the federal funding is not enough to close the whole budget gap estimated for the fiscal year 2022. However, the agency’s actions will be “very impactful, although less drastic than what had been previously proposed,” according to the statement.
“Without service cuts and layoffs triggered by the budget shortfall, we are now able to serve our riders and businesses at least through the first half of this year to finish out FY21,” said WMATA’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld.
“But we are far from out of the woods, without sufficient revenue to cover all of next fiscal year. While the choices may not be quite as severe, there is still enormous financial pressure on our funding jurisdictions, and ridership and revenue is likely to return very gradually, so we have tough choices still ahead,” he added.
The federal coronavirus stimulus package was signed into law last month. Metro’s share has not been finalized yet.