For immediate release: April 10, 2024

Metro, Council of Governments officials plan to partner on developing unified vision for the region's transit

Officials representing the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors and the Metro Board of Directors today announced they would convene the two bodies to launch a new joint initiative to develop a unified vision for transit service in the region. The meeting will be held on May 1 and will continue months-long discussions about how to efficiently provide, fund, and govern public transit, which is central to the region’s transportation, economic, and sustainability goals.

The planned partnership builds on recent coordination related to Metro's FY 2025 financial challenges. It also provides an opportunity for the region to act with urgency to fully address complex, long-term transit needs.

“World-class regions are built on world-class transit, and it’s up to us, as leaders, to advance this vision,” said COG Board Chair Charles Allen. “WMATA’s financial challenges remain, but our region worked together to solve the next year or two while we focus on the region’s long term transit needs. But that crisis creates an opportunity in this moment, and it’s one I’m confident we can meet. We look forward to creating a comprehensive and inclusive effort that will bring together area governments and agencies and all the key stakeholders from the business, labor, and civic sectors.”

“The WMATA Board of Directors welcomes this collaborative approach to solve long-standing issues that severely impact our future,” said Metro Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg. “Both WMATA and COG have a responsibility to lead regional transportation planning, and this joint initiative begins to fulfill that role. I look forward to working with our regional leaders in the coming months.”

Leaders from both boards agree this collective effort is needed to unlock the full potential of the region’s transit network, which is made up of more than a dozen rail and bus providers—including Metro. Officials note that these providers offer varying service levels, different technologies and fare policies, as well as an array of funding and governing models that do not always work together for the benefit of our residents and visitors.

“This joint initiative is an important step towards a collaborative approach to regional problem solving,” said Metro General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke. “Our leaders have already made good-faith efforts to address some of Metro’s ongoing financial challenges. I am confident this important work will allow us to look at the region holistically and move towards solutions that benefit us all.”

“Our public transit network is our region’s most significant, shared asset,” said COG Executive Director Clark Mercer. “I could not be more pleased our leadership is seizing this valuable opportunity to collaborate and ensure the region’s public transit is positioned for long-term success.”

Metro Board Chair Smedberg accepted COG Board Chair Allen’s invitation to create this joint initiative in response to a letter that was sent by Allen on April 1. During a short presentation during the COG Board of Directors April meeting, both COG and Metro staff pledged to advance this effort by collaborating with regional leaders, who will be announced in the coming weeks along with additional details.

COG, WMATA Board Chair letters