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Covid Relief Bill Will Save Metro Service, WMATA Says

Metro said on Wednesday that the passage of the COVID-19 relief bill saved the agency from the service cuts and layoffs that had been proposed in its next budget.

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, passed by the House Wednesday, provides $1.4 billion to D.C.-area transit agencies, Metro said in a statement.

“While it will take more time to work out all the details, including Metro’s exact share of this funding,” Metro Board of Directors Chair Paul C. Smedberg said in the statement, the bill “will allow us to avert the painful service reductions and layoffs that were on the table.

“Congress has once again stepped up to address the needs of Metro and the regional transit systems that will be critical to our region’s economic recovery,” Smedberg said.

On Monday, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said he hoped passage of the bill would avoid cuts, but he couldn’t count on anything until it was passed.

The proposed budget could have closed 22 stations, ended service at 9 p.m. and increased time between trains, among other possible reductions.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement that the bill will provide about $2 billion in aid to D.C., including “$755 million we were owed from the CARES Act,” a reference to the fact that D.C. received aid from that bill on the level of a territory rather than a state.

She thanked congressional leaders and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton for their work on Capitol Hill, and thanked residents who advocated for the District.

“Without a vote, our voice is all we have,” she said.