Forestville, Md. --- It has been reported that there was a minor derailment at East Falls Church this morning on Metrorail’s Orange and Blue Lines with no injuries, but 75 passengers were offloaded. As a result, those lines are currently shut down.
This incident is a stark reminder of the need for dedicated funding for Metro so that the basic needs of maintenance and upkeep of our rail system can be addressed before someone else gets hurt. This is why tomorrow at noon, the members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689, are coming together with riders, community groups, and policy makers, including the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld and WMATA Board Chair Jack Evans, at the “Rally for Respect and Dedicated Funding.”
Metro continues to be the safest form of transportation in Washington DC, however, there are serious safety and funding needs for the system that must be addressed. With congressional representatives in this region like Republican Barbara Comstock seeking to take resources away from WMATA and its workforce, a nonpartisan and consistent funding stream is more important than ever. Having a dedicated funding source addresses this challenge by allowing maintenance, upkeep and upgrades to occur without the interference of personal and political agendas.
ATU Local 689, the representative of the majority of operators and all the maintenance and clerical employees at WMATA, is relieved that there were no serious injuries in this morning’s incident; however, we must do more than take a sigh of relief. Riders and workers must come together to pressure our political leadership to get adequate funding and resources for WMATA allocated now or we may not be so fortunate if this happens again.