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McAuliffe Threatens To Defund DC Metro If Safety Does Not Improve

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday he will pull his state’s funding for the D.C. Metro if safety standards do not quickly improve.

McAuliffe signed a directive Wednesday ordering officials in Virginia to create a new Metro Safety Commission with D.C. and Maryland officials, which would have the power to issue safety mandates and withhold funds from the Metro if officials do not meet their standards. McAuliffe said he has had enough, and th safety culture needs urgent reform, reports NBC Washington.

D.C. Council member Jack Evans, who serves as chairman of the Metro board, is requesting greater funding for the Metro from the District, Maryland and Virginia. (RELATED: DC Metro GM Goes Scorched Earth, Fires 20 Managers And Says More Layoffs Coming)

“Don’t come to me asking for more money until I and the Virginia residents know the money is being spent smart now,” McAuliffe told NBC Washington. “Don’t ask for more money until we know the system is safe. We want results.”

Officials in Virginia, Maryland and the District intend to draft legislation establishing standards for Metro safety, however the legislative session does not convene until January 2017. McAuliffe said he is done waiting for Metro officials to fix the system, saying he is “sick and tired” of the situation, reports The Washington Post.

“I’m just not going to sit here for eight more months and worry about safety,” McAuliffe told NBC Washington. “I can’t take so many people contacting me saying they don’t want to get on the Metro.”

General Manager Paul Wiedefeld released Metro’s 10-month maintenance overhaul of the system May 19 which will address the serious safety threats in the deteriorating system. The plan, which begins June 4, was originally promised three days earlier, but Wiedefeld said he had to amend the draft to include new safety directives from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). (RELATED: Two Week-Long Track Shutdowns Imminent As DC Metro Reveals Final Repair Plan)

Last week Wiedefeld fired 20 station managers, seven from senior positions, in an effort to clean house and show the public they are taking safety fears very seriously.

“Metro’s safety culture change depends on support from the entire region,” Wiedefeld said earlier in May. “We have to begin by understanding that safety trumps inconvenience.”

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