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Metro Set to Go Under Congressional Microscope, Again –

dcogcadmin | July 21, 2015

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials will once again ascend Capitol Hill to answer lawmakers’ questions about the transit system’s safety and management.

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on July 21 to follow-up on questions raised after the deadly incident at the L’Enfant Metro stop in January, where one woman died and dozens were hospitalized after being trapped in a smoke-filled train.

The committee held a hearing one month after the incident, but the session did not inspire confidence that a similar incident would not happen again. This time, lawmakers will look to learn what steps WMATA has taken to remedy some of the factors surrounding the electrical issue that caused smoke to fill the tunnel, and if there are any obstacles to further improvements.

“The primary emphasis is to see what progress has been made over the last few months as well as the impediments going forward,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said in a Thursday phone interview. Meadows chairs the Subcommittee on Government Operations, which will hold the hearing along with the Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets.

Though the hearing will focus on progress since the L’Enfant incident, Meadows also pointed to recent events as evidence of needed oversight. Commuters have been increasingly frustrated with the system, given frequent of delays and crimes at Metro stations.

In a series of 10 days, two people were killed at two different Metro stops. On July 14, a man was fatally shot in the parking garage of the Wheaton Metro station. On July 4, a young man who was also a former congressional intern was brutally stabbed on a train coming into the NoMa-Gallaudet U Metro stop. [Read More]