Fresh off the presidential campaign trail, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) took a quick bus tour of Silver Line construction in Loudoun on Tuesday, stopping briefly at the future Dulles International Airport station to make the case for mass transit.
“Obviously, there’s still a huge number of issues, and there’s issues on our shoulders in Congress to make sure we provide the financial support necessary to keep Metro running,” Kaine said. “Serving 1.2 million people a day, the region doesn’t work without it.”
Kaine and others in Congress have made the case for providing a fixed federal funding source for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Currently, the federal government contributes capital funding to Metro, but does not contribute operational funding—in other words, once it’s built, Congress stops paying for it.
Kaine said Metro management has been going “in a positive direction” and applauded the work of General Manager Paul Wiedefeld and his SafeTrack maintenance program.
“If the Metro management keeps improving on the safety side, then those of us in Congress will keep making the case to all of our colleagues from all over the country, because their staffers rely on Metro,” Kaine said.
Kaine was also governor of Virginia when the state committed to expanding the Silver Line. He said the Silver Line extension was “the single hardest project I’ve worked on in public life.”
“It’s just a necessary project to keep up with the growth of Northern Virginia, and especially to serve the international airport, which is one of the two key hubs to Virginia’s international economic reach,” Kaine said.