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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) was created by an interstate compact in 1967 to plan, develop, build, finance, and operate a balanced regional transportation system in the national capital area. Metro began building its rail system in 1969, acquired four regional bus systems in 1973, and began operating the first phase of Metrorail in 1976. Today, Metrorail serves 91 stations and has 117 miles of track. Metrobus serves the nation's capital 24 hours a day, seven days a week with 1,500 buses. Metrorail and Metrobus serve a population of approximately 4 million within a 1,500-square mile jurisdiction. Metro began its paratransit service, MetroAccess, in 1994; it provides about 2.3 million trips per year.
Major step in advancing the Board’s recently adopted goal of transitioning to a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2045
Metro announced today that it will build its first all-electric bus garage, with infrastructure and equipment needed to run 100% electric vehicles, at the Northern Bus Garage in Northwest Washington, D.C. Construction of the operations and maintenance facility is expected to take four years once all approvals are received, and will open with a mix of the current Metrobus fleet and new battery-electric vehicles, transitioning to 100% electric as Metrobus’ electric bus fleet expands.
“This is an important step forward in Metro’s commitment to help our region reduce its environmental footprint, improve public health, and modernize our facilities,” said Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld. “We appreciate the Board’s leadership in contributing to the clean air targets shared by Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.”
In June, Metro's Board of Directors adopted a goal of a 100% zero-emission bus fleet by 2045, with a full transition to battery-electric or other zero-emission bus purchases by 2030. A zero-emission bus fleet will improve regional air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide customers with a quieter, more comfortable ride. This phased conversion of the 1,500-vehicle Metrobus fleet will allow Metro to purchase vehicles as zero-emission technologies continue to improve to ensure consistent service reliability. It will also enable Metro and its regional partners to make needed investments in facilities, electric utility infrastructure, and workforce training to support the fleet transition.
Metro’s new Director of Zero-Emission Vehicles, Amy Mesrobian, is leading Metro's Electric Bus Test and Evaluation Program, which includes the procurement of approximately 12 electric buses. The Test and Evaluation Program will provide data and experience with electric bus performance in typical Metrobus operating conditions. The results of the Test and Evaluation will inform future acquisition of electric buses as well as the facility improvements and charging equipment needed to operate the electric buses. Learn more about Metro’s Zero-Emission Bus Program.
Metro will host a virtual community meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21, to provide an update on the Northern Bus Garage Reconstruction Project and respond to community questions. This major reconstruction effort will preserve the historic 14th Street façade of the 114-yeard old building, while providing a modern bus facility that is capable of operating a 100% electric bus fleet. When the facility reopens, it will feature modern air filtration systems, solar panels and additional LEED characteristics, providing an environmentally responsible building for employees and community.
Metro today announced it has signed an agreement to redevelop the West Falls Church Metro Station site with FGCP-Metro, LLC, an affiliated partnership with EYA, LLC (EYA), Hoffman & Associates, and Rushmark Properties. The redevelopment plans will create a vibrant, mixed-use community with over one million square feet of office, retail, and residential space.
The project is the result of a multi-year effort between Metro, the development team, and Fairfax County to amend the Comprehensive Plan recommendations for the site to enhance an underutilized asset in Metro’s portfolio.
In 2019, Metro’s Board of Directors agreed to seek proposals for the site and gave approval to move forward with a joint development agreement (JDA) and compact public hearing last December. The deal is expected to generate long-term revenue for Metro through 99-year ground leases, in addition to fares from new ridership.
“Building transit-oriented development is an important strategy for managing many of this region’s most pressing challenges, such as traffic congestion, sustainability, housing production, and transit ridership recovery,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld. “The West Falls Church Metro Station is a unique opportunity that will convert underutilized parking lots to provide housing, jobs and economic opportunities, and create a cohesive development plan with the adjacent publicly-owned sites.”
On July 13, The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to its Comprehensive Plan to support development of both the Metro site and the adjoining Virginia Tech site, with mixed-use development emphasizing safe and convenient bicycle and pedestrian enhancements connecting to the Metro station.
"The plan presents an opportunity to better align the West Falls Church Transit Station Area with the County’s Transit Oriented Development Guidelines,” said Fairfax County Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust. “I am pleased that it envisions a vibrant mixed-use, pedestrian friendly environment and attractive public spaces, while respecting nearby established residential communities.”
“The execution of the JDA and vote by the Board of Supervisors are critical next steps in enabling the transformation of the West Falls Church Metro parking lots into a walkable, bikeable, and welcoming neighborhood,” said Evan Goldman, Executive Vice President of Acquisition and Development at EYA. “There is an evident need to create a pedestrian friendly development and optimize the West Falls Church Metro Station, and our team of developers look forward to making this happen.”
Over the next year, the joint development team will proceed through Fairfax County’s rezoning process to advance the design and planning for the West Falls Church Metro Station site.
The rezoning application will include the detailed plans for the redevelopment of Metro’s parking lots with apartments, townhomes, neighborhood retail, and public green spaces. It will connect the proposed mixed-use redevelopment of the Meridian High School (formerly George Mason High School) site in the City of Falls Church to the West Falls Church Metro Station with new bike lanes, broad sidewalks, publicly accessible park spaces and a secondary grid of streets that will help alleviate some of the congestion in the area.
Later this year, Metro will also hold a public hearing on the proposed changes to commuter parking and bus facilities.
Together with the surrounding community and Metro, EYA, Hoffman & Associates and Rushmark Properties, have created a thoughtful design that accommodates buses, Metro Kiss & Ride and Park & Ride users while transforming the property into a vibrant, inclusive, and walkable neighborhood with inviting, open spaces, sustainable design elements such as enhanced storm water management systems, affordable housing, safe pedestrian and bike connections and a community dog park.
Construction is anticipated to begin in 2023.
Metro today announced the issuance of Climate Bonds Certified green bonds as part of the agency’s commitment to delivering sustainable, cost-effective transportation service to the Washington Metropolitan Region. This green certification confirms that Metro’s planned capital investments support climate change solutions, including within the categories of clean energy and energy efficiency. Issuing Climate Bonds will help Metro attract more environmentally conscious buyers to increase investor demand and result in a better, more competitive rate for the transit agency. “This is an important step in supporting sustainability and contributing to the national capital region’s climate change objectives,” said Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg. “This green bond issue funds important capital investments in safety, reliability and Metro’s Energy Action Plan.” The projected $874 million bond offer, approved by Metro’s Board of Directors last week, will fund capital projects in support of Metro’s \[Energy Action Plan\](https://www.wmata.com/initiatives/sustainability/2025-Energy-Action-Plan.cfm) to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiencies. “As we build for the future, we recognize Metro’s leadership role to address the region’s climate challenges through sustainable transportation and solutions,” said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Issuing these bonds demonstrates our commitment to support the region’s sustainability goals and helps expand zero- and low-emission public transportation options in the Washington Metropolitan region.” Over the next six years, Metro will make extensive capital investments in its fleet, traction power and infrastructure that will shape the region’s sustainability efforts. The Climate Bonds are based on the environmentally sustainable elements of the Capital Improvement Program and will finance green infrastructure and climate resiliency projects including: \* Traction power upgrades to support additional 8-car trains \* Fare collection modernization \* Zero-emission bus system upgrades \* Bus facility upgrades including Bladensburg and Northern which are expected to meet LEED green building standards The bond offering is verified by Kestrel Verifiers against the Climate Bonds Standard to ensure the proceeds are used exclusively to fund projects with material environmental benefits. Climate Bonds are bonds which have been verified against rigorous criteria to confirm consistency with the 2-degree Celsius warming limit established by the Paris Climate Agreement. Issuing these bonds aligns with Metro’s commitment to sustainability. As outlined in its \[most recent sustainability report\](https://www.wmata.com/initiatives/sustainability/Annual-Sustainability-Report.cfm), Metro has made an impact on regional sustainability in three primary areas: Livability & Accessibility, Economic Prosperity, and Environmental Impact. The Climate Bonds will help advance sustainable investments that protect the environment, improve the quality of life of residents and visitors to our region, and help facilitate a transition to a low-carbon economy. Between 2018 and 2020 the amount of debt issued in the Green Bond market in the United States increased by a multiple of six times to $46.9 Billion. Metro’s Series 2021A Bonds, projected at $874 million, represents the fourth largest issuance of Green Bonds since 2020 in the municipal market. For more information on the bond sale, please see the Preliminary Offering Statement here.