Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Efforts to rebuild WMATA system picking up steam

Efforts to rebuild WMATA system picking up steam Larry Levine

Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority's investment in projects to rebuild and modernize its railroad, trains, stations and buses grew by 26 percent to $770 million in FY2012, an increase of nearly $160 million and is on track to continue ramping up to nearly a billion dollars this year.

In a recent presentation to the WMATA Board Finance and Administration Committee, Metro staff will provide a detailed update on progress to rebuild the system.

"What these charts and graphs tell us is that customers are starting to benefit from more reliable service with a newer fleet of vehicles and upgraded track and track components. These investments are also starting to deliver more reliable escalators and elevators following extensive modernization and replacement projects," said Marcel Acosta, chair of the WMATA Board Finance and Administration Committee.

"Most importantly, we are making significant progress addressing federal safety recommendations and improving reliability by upgrading and replacing thousands of moving parts that make the system work," said General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles.

During the year, WMATA welded 1,229 joints, rehabilitated 1,445 linear feet of floating slabs and replaced 2,679 rail signs, 12 miles of running rail and 21,336 crossties.

The aggressive capital program, known as Metro Forward, includes rehabilitation of track and structures maintenance on the Red, Orange and Blue lines.

WMATA's aggressive schedule of work to rebuild the system over the past two years and proposed work schedule for the next several years will enable the transit system to catch up on maintenance projects including replacing ties, fasteners, frogs and running rail. Clearing the backlog on such maintenance projects will enable WMATA to achieve a steady state of maintenance on the rail system by 2018, resulting in a safer, more reliable ride for customers.

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