Metro Officials Warn Of ‘Dire’ Situation That Could Shut Down Lines For Six Months

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

The perennially plagued Washington, D.C. Metro announced Wednesday its derelict system is in such disrepair that officials may need to shut down entire lines for as long as six months, promising to ignite long-term commuter chaos throughout the city.

Metro officials met with leaders in D.C. to discuss the likelihood of future mass closures, and also requested an additional $1 billion in funding for the transit system. Council member and Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans and Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld warned the system is in a “dire” situation and long-term repairs are inevitable if the Metro is to be restored. Evans suggested it is likely entire lines will be closed for months at a time to make the proper updates, reports The Washington Post.

“There may be decisions where we need to close down whole lines and repair them,” Evans said at the meeting. “If we do nothing, 10 years from now, the system won’t be running.”

D.C. residents are up in arms over the potential closures, lashing out at the Metro over Twitter.

Business leaders and government officials from across the region convened Wednesday to mark the Metro’s 40th anniversary and discuss how the system can be remade first rate. Currently, the Metro is trying to make repairs along various lines in a piecemeal fashion at night, but Wiedefeld, who took over the suffering system in November, says it is not enough to make the necessary fixes, reports WTOP.

Wiedefeld’s decision in early March to shut down the entire Metro system for 29 hours following a major track fire caused outrage. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the move “shocking” and was not consulted by officials before the closure. Evans painted a bleak picture at the meeting, stressing the status quo cannot continue. (RELATED: Angry Commuters Buckle Up For Day Without Metro)

“If we are going to fix the infrastructure, we can’t do it three hours at night,” Evans said. “So in order to do repairs that are necessary, it may come to the point where we have to close the entire Blue Line for six months. People will go crazy. But there are going to be hard decisions that have to be made in order to get this fixed.”

While Evans mentioned the Blue line could be temporarily closed, Wiedefeld said there have been no definitive decisions yet on closures and they are considering all options. Any line could be a possible subject for closure and repair if officials determine long-term shutdowns their only option.

Many of the attendees reportedly did not take the news well, citing concerns over the potential disaster such a plan will cause for commuters. Mayor Bowser seemed concerned with the announcement, warning about the potential impact to residents.

“Shutting down Metro for one workday was an inconvenience,” Michael Czin, the mayor’s communications director told The Washington Post. “Shutting it down for months at a time will have far-reaching consequences for riders and the entire region.”

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