WASHINGTON, DC – In the wake of critical budget WMATA shortfalls and increasingly frequent service outages that disproportionately affect low-income workers, senior citizens and students, the DC Statehood Green Party officially signed on as a sponsor member of ATU 689’s ’Save our System Coalition.’
DC Statehood Greens firmly rejected WMATA plans to cut service and increase fairs beginning in the summer of 2017 to bridge a nearly $4 billion funding gap.
Specifically, ATU 689 and the DC Statehood Green Party are calling for WMATA to: 1) Reject service cuts and fare increases; 2) Implement modified flat fare system; 3) Allow free transfers from local bus-to-rail, rail-to-local bus or local bus-to-local bus within two hours of the time you paid your fare; 4) Expand hours of operation.
"The availability of public transportation and WMATA services are a vital economic lifeline for residents of Washington, DC. While WMATA’s shortfall does need to be addressed, cuts should be prioritized from management, not service,” said DCSGP Communications Director Justin McCarthy.
DCSGP and ATU 689’s "Save Our System Coalition” also strongly condemn proposals for dedicated metro funding via a 1% flat sales tax. Sales taxes – the preferred dedicated revenue source for many systems nationwide, are regressive – taking a larger percentage of income from low-income earners than from high-income earners.
Instead, the DCSGP is calling for 1) dedicated funding derived from a 1% income tax on businesses located in and around metro/metrobus station locations; 2) dedicated funding derived from nominal rental car taxes at the current Metrorail stop at Reagan National Airport and the future Metrorail stop Dulles Airport.
"WMATA’s service cuts and rate increases on those that rely on public transportation are only anticipated to bridge a paltry $27 million from its $4 billion shortfall. Throwing more money funded through regressive taxes at the bureaucratic monster that is WMATA is not going to solve the problem. We need systemic change,” added Chair of the DCSGP Political Policy and Action Committee David Schwarzman.
More information about the 2017 report released by ATU 689, entitled "Fund It, Fix It, Make It Fair," is available HERE.