Thursday, March 08, 2012

WMATA progresses capital rebuilding effort

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Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority provided an update on its progress to rebuild the system following years of underinvestment. In the six-month period from July 1 to December 31, 2011, Metro spent $307 million on capital projects ranging from replacing railcars, switches, rail and track components to rehabilitating station platforms, escalators and elevators.

The major investment is already showing results in the form of improved reliability on Metrobus and Metrorail, greater availability of escalators and improved safety. For example, delays attributable to track circuit problems declined more than 75 percent in the fourth quarter of FY11 as compared to the previous quarter.

Among the highlights:

• Elevators and escalators: WMATA rehabilitated or replaced 14 escalators and two elevators so far in FY12 at a cost of $11 million. The work continues at stations across the system with plans to rehabilitate or replace 13 more escalators in the next six months, as well as four elevators.

• Track circuit replacement: WMATA has replaced more than 60 track circuit modules in the first half of FY12, a key step in restoring automatic train operations.

• Infrastructure upgrades: WMATA to date in FY12 has installed 10,432 rail fasteners, 10,785 crossties, 5,491 insulators, 7.5 miles of running rail, 16 turnouts and 1,375 linear feet of running rail.

WMATA is also advancing the critical work to meet National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, including continued work to finalize the design of the new 7000-series rail cars to replace the 1000-series fleet. This summer, WMATA will complete the installation of Guarded No. 8 switches throughout out the system, another NTSB recommendation.

In the second half of fiscal 2012, WMATA will continue its rebuilding efforts throughout the system with projects such as station enhancements at Largo Town Center and King Street, platform rehabilitation at Deanwood and Minnesota Avenue and the rehabilitation of the Western bus garage.

The proposed fiscal 2013 capital budget accelerates efforts to rebuild WMATA, with nearly a billion dollars ($997 million) in investment projected in the year.

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