Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Senate Approves Funding to Boost Metro Safety

The U.S. Senate approved $150 million in funding to the D.C. Metro system as part of [the 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill]( on Sept. 17.

A similar version of this bill was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year; differences between the two bills will need to be reconciled before President Obama can sign the final version.

The bill stipulates that the $150 million be used to enhance the safety of the Metro, particularly in light of [a Red line accident on June 22]( The accident was the deadliest in the Metro’s history, killing nine and injuring over 70 others.

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board released recommendations to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The NTSB statement said that test results revealed that the automatic train protection system could not find the train’s location prior to the accident.

“Although the investigation is ongoing, post-accident testing showed that the track circuit at the accident site lost detection of train 214 when it stopped at the location where the collision occurred,” the NTSB release said.

The NTSB recommended that WMATA devise a system that monitors the train control system in order to determine if the electronic components are performing correctly.

Georgetown students traveling to jobs or internships by Metro could benefit from this funding.

Shaalin Parekh (MSB ’12) interns for Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) on Capitol Hill, and estimates that he spends approximately three hours per week on the Metro.

Parekh said his major concerns regarding the Metro are threefold: that the Metro system does not extend into Georgetown’s neighborhood, the system can become crowded during peak hours and frequent train breakdowns can cause a series of delays on the same line.

“I think the Metro runs fairly efficiently now and most of the problems with it will exist despite the funding,” Parekh said. “But the funding can be used wisely to improve the Metro.”

He added, “I think the best use of the funding would be to fix trains so that they break down less often and to extend the Metro to Georgetown. I believe extending the Metro to Georgetown would decrease some of the traffic at Rosslyn and [the George Washington University].”

Elena Lien (COL ’12) has interned for Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) since early September, and says she spends about two hours on the Metro each week.

Lien says she has no safety concerns about the Metro, but said, “As a student, I would obviously be in favor of anything that reduces Metro costs.”

The NTSB also made recommendations to Alstom Signaling, Inc., the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration.

“Although I was concerned about my safety on the Metro soon after the accident, I’ve realized that I am safer now than I was before the accident,” Parekh said. “Now, since there is an investigation into the safety of the Metro, many possible problems are being fixed.”

WMATA could not be reached for comment.

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