Capital Program Overview

Capital Program Overview Graphic (Seamless Connections, Empowered Movement and Supported Network)

We're investing in system safety, reliability and the region's economy through our Capital Improvement Program. For Fiscal Year 2021, Metro's Board of Directors approved a 6-year, $9.7 billion capital program. And for the first time in Metro's history, the capital program is now bolstered by dedicated funding from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Metro's capital program is designed to improve the safety of our rail, bus and paratransit system for all customers and employees, improve the customer experience, and keep the region's infrastructure in a state of good repair. The capital program does this by investing in new railcars, buses and paratransit vehicles, improving stations and platforms, upgrading fire-suppression and emergency response systems, building new bus garages, replacing and repairing tracks, tunnels, bridges, signals, and more.

In spending local taxpayer dollars for capital projects, we're seeking to reinvest in our hometown economy, creating jobs and encouraging participation from disadvantaged, minority-owned, and small businesses in the region.

Funding Sources

Metro’s capital program is funded by a mix of sources including dedicated capital funding from the District of Columbia, Maryland & Virginia, federal grants, additional state and local contributions, and debt financing. These funds must be used exclusively for capital investments and cannot be transferred to the operating budget. Continued capital investments are necessary for Metro to remain safe and reliable for years to come. Even if capital funds could technically be used to cover operating budget shortfalls, this would be unwise and likely result in similar major safety and service issues that previously plagued Metro.  

Dedicated Funding from DC, MD & VA
In 2018, Metro’s funding partners came together and established the agency’s first dedicated capital funding source that provides $500 million each year, providing Metro flexibility to plan critical capital projects on a long-term horizon and align necessary financing required to support the program.

Federal Funds
Metro’s capital program is supported by federal formula grants, most of which come through Federal Transit Administration (FTA)  formula funding programs that are distributed to transit agencies nationwide with the focus on supporting management of long-term assets and helping to address the backlog of state of good repair needs.

Metro also receives annual dedicated funding as authorized in the Passenger Rail Investment Act (PRIIA) of 2008. This federal dedicated funding is matched dollar for dollar by Metro's jurisdictional partners, with each contributing $50 million per year.

In addition, Metro is eligible to compete for a variety of competitive grant programs each year, such as the U.S. Department of Transportation's Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program, the  FTA's Bus and Bus Facilities or Low- or No- Emission Vehicle grant programs, and the Department of Homeland Security's Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP).

State & Local Funds
In addition to the dedicated funding stream established in 2018, Metro’s jurisdictions provide matching funds to federal grants and system performance funding.

Long-Term Debt
Long-term debt allows Metro to smooth out cash flows as projects move through their lifecycle and provides the flexibility to accelerate projects as necessary.

Investment Principles

Metro decides which capital projects to prioritize based on four investment principles:

Asset Condition
The project’s ability to improve an asset’s physical condition, taking into account asset age and deterioration level (examples of assets include station platforms, rail and bus vehicles, maintenance facilities, and track infrastructure)

Safety & Security
The project’s ability to reduce risk of injuries, property damage or other safety concerns

Service Delivery
The project’s ability to improve service reliability and customer satisfaction

Ridership Impacts
The project’s impact on ridership, with additional considerations to ensure that areas with low levels of ridership are included to ensure equity

Capital Program Categories

The capital program is organized into six investment categories:


Railcars and Railcar Facilities

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Rail Systems

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Track and Structures Rehabilitation

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Stations and Passenger Facilities

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Bus, Bus Facilities and Paratransit

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Infrastructure-support facilities-icon

Business and Operations Support

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From annual reports to quarterly progress updates, view capital program documents here.