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Letter to METRO Board of Directors RE: METRO Hours

April 2, 2010

April 2, 2010

Chairman Peter Benjamin
  And Members of the Board of Directors
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
600 Fifth St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Chairman Benjamin and Members of the Board of Directors,

    If nothing else, this extraordinary winter just ended reminded us all of the critical importance of accessible, reliable and safe transportation options. We do not think we are far off the mark when we suggest that the proposed cost-cutting measures which include service reductions presage their own perfect storm of debilitating transportation disruptions.
    We have come a long, long way from the bad old days of a deserted, dilapidated and dangerous downtown during the evening hours and few destination retail and entertainment neighborhoods. The establishment and growth of vibrant areas such as Penn Quarter, Ballston, U/14th Street Corridors are directly attributable to transportation access for patrons, visitors and employees. 
     RAMW recently distributed a survey to its membership to gage the impact of these proposed changes on their businesses, their patrons and their employees.  Their responses painted a bleak picture of a region taking serious steps backwards.
     Comments from our members: “We would potentially lose 75% of our [closing] kitchen staff who all rely on Metrorail to get home.” “This would devastate our business.” “This would have a drastic effect on our customers and it would adversely affect our employees’ ability to get home from work.” ‘Nough said? Apparently not; we’ve fought this battle before and still these threats to service come up every time there is a budget crisis.
     Whatever Metro gains by cutting services, the region will lose many times over in lost wages, collected taxes and quality of life. May we respectfully request that all service reductions be taken off the table and that WMATA aggressively advance the discussion of dedicated funding with its federal and regional governmental partners.


Claude Andersen         Lynne Breaux
RAMW Chair                President