Friday, December 06, 2013

WMATA eyes big system expansion

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Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) unveiled a preliminary map of expanded Metrorail service Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, costing $26 billion, that would push the rapid rail system into parts of the city – and suburban communties across the district border – currently not served.

The proposal envisions a new loop of the Yellow and Blue lines in downtown Washington, adding between eight and 10 new stations, notably including a station in Georgetown, located in the district's northwest corner.

Georgetown may have to wait until 2040, though, to see such a station, which would plug it into the Metrorail system roughly 64 years after the first portion of the system began revenue service.

DC Metrorail loop"The economy of this region wants to grow and the only way to do that is through transit," Metrorail General Manager and Chief Executive Richard Sarles said to local media.

Funding for such expansion has yet to be identified. WMATA receives its budget funds from the city, the federal government, Maryland, and Virginia.

Numerous local organizations have voiced support for the plan, including Georgetown Business Association, Georgetown University, and the Citizens Association of Georgetown. One local website suggests this belies the "urban myth" that Georgetown residents rejected initial inclusion in the WMATA system during the 1970s, fearful of crime and migration issues that might affect the neighborhood.