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Creating a more resilient, sustainable future will require businesses, governments and citizens to work together to find innovative solutions. JLL, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and SunPower are working together in a private-public partnership that will create one of the largest community solar power projects in the U.S. By attaching solar power arrays across 17 acres of its parking lots and garages, Washington Metro can supply 12 MW of clean power to 1,500 homes in the Washington DC area. It will also provide the transit authority with $50 million of revenue over a 25-year period, demonstrating an innovative approach to sustainable solutions. Produced in partnership with JLL.
Metro has reached a deal worth up to $50 million over 25 years with SunPower Corp. and Goldman Sachs Renewable Power LLC (GSRP). The plan is to install solar paneled carports or canopies over surface lots and above parking garages at four rail stations. The four sites will have a combined 12.8 megawatts of electrical capacity, making this the largest community solar project in the National Capital Area and one of the largest in the nation. Under the agreement, SunPower will install photovoltaic solar panels at Anacostia, Cheverly, Naylor Road, and Southern Avenue stations at no cost to Metro. GSRP will own the solar power system and provide annual payments to Metro through 2047. This will ensure a long-term revenue stream that will support our operations. This project advances the region’s sustainability goals while generating revenue to help keep Metro safe and affordable in an increasingly tight-budget environment.
Solar panels capable of powering 1,500 homes will soon be installed at four Metro-owned facilities. In a request for proposals (RFP) issued today, Metro is offering a 15-year solar ground lease to develop and operate solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems on surface and rooftop parking lots at Anacostia, Cheverly, Naylor Road and Southern Avenue stations.
“Offering these Metro-owned sites for use as solar power stations will advance Metro’s commitment to sustainability while generating new revenue to support transit services and keep fares affordable,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld.
The solar panels will be owned, operated, installed and maintained by a solar energy provider at no cost to Metro or taxpayers.
Metro’s surface and rooftop parking garages provide optimal exposure for solar power, offering a rare opportunity in the Washington Region to generate up to 15,000,000 kWh of renewable energy annually, enough to power 1,500 single family homes for one year.
Installing new solar canopies will benefit Metro’s parking customers by providing shade and snow protection for the top level of parking garages, along with lighting improvements.
Solar panels are expected to be installed and supplying renewable energy by late 2020 or early 2021.
Metro today announced the launch of a two-year study of the Blue, Orange and Silver lines with the goal of identifying long-term options to improve reliability, meet future ridership demand, and better serve customers.
Today, the Blue, Orange and Silver (BOS) lines all share a single set of tracks between the Rosslyn tunnel and the Anacostia River, creating a bottleneck that limits the number of trains that can cross between Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. The limited capacity means that Metro cannot easily add more trains and has limited ability to work around service disruptions. With the current configuration, a disruption on one line can have a ripple effect on all three lines.
The BOS Study will identify potential infrastructure improvements and service alternatives to resolve these issues.
“Our rebuilding efforts and ongoing preventive maintenance have improved Metro’s reliability to the highest levels in eight years, but it’s time to start thinking about the Blue, Orange and Silver lines’ infrastructure constraints so that Metro is well positioned to serve future generations,” said Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld.
The first phase of the study will assess key issues and trends and document why improvements to the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines are necessary. Subsequent phases will include the development and evaluation of alternatives, as well as a thorough analysis of costs and benefits, with recommendation of a preferred alternative expected to occur by the fall of 2020.
Ultimately, the study will identify and analyze a range of potential alternatives before recommending a “locally preferred alternative” to move forward with federal environmental review, full design, and competition for federal funding. Over the next two years, Metro plans extensive outreach to engage the community, stakeholders, and transit experts to gather feedback and make recommendations.
To learn more about the project and opportunities to get involved, and to track the status of the project, visit the project website at www.wmata.com/BOSstudy.
Metro announced today that it has selected two sites—one in Prince George’s County, Md., and one in Alexandria, Va., as homes for new office buildings that will accommodate the majority of the transit authority’s professional workforce. The announcement is the next major milestone in Metro’s regional office consolidation plan, which will reduce the number of Metro office buildings from 10 to four, saving an estimated $130 million over the next 20 years.
The Prince George’s County location is adjacent to New Carrollton Metrorail Station, and the Alexandria location is near Eisenhower Avenue Station. Both buildings will be new construction on Metro-owned land and will contribute significantly to neighborhood development surrounding the selected sites. The buildings will be designed with the goal of achieving LEED Platinum certification to benefit the environment and reduce long-term operating costs.
The new Maryland and Virginia buildings will join Metro’s future DC headquarters near L’Enfant Plaza as primary office facilities. All three locations are within a five-minute (1,500-foot) walk to the nearest Metro station.
Metro’s New Carrollton office building will be one of three new buildings to be developed by the transit agency’s selected development partner, Urban Atlantic. Urban Atlantic won the rights to develop the New Carrollton station area in 2016 and plans to transform several acres of Metro-owned land into more than two million square feet of usable space. The station is one of the region’s most significant transit hubs and is served by Metro, MARC, multiple local and regional buses, Amtrak and Greyhound, and the future Maryland MTA Purple Line.
“Metro’s selection today of Urban Atlantic’s New Carrollton development for the site of its Maryland headquarters energizes the dramatic transformation of New Carrollton. What had been a functional surface parking lot is now an exciting urban center” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “New Carrollton has unmatched transportation options bringing customers, clients and residents from around the region to Prince George’s County. WMATA’s decision to place its Maryland headquarters in New Carrollton is the spark that will make that location a dynamic 24-hour community.”
The Alexandria office building will be located at 2395 Mill Road, adjacent to the Hoffman Town Center and will become part of the larger redevelopment of the Eisenhower Avenue corridor.
"Metro is a vital component of our region's mobility and economy," said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson. "We look forward to welcoming hundreds of Metro employees to their new office home in Alexandria."
“Metro’s office consolidation plan is a smart investment in our future that will improve conditions for our workforce while benefitting the region,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Our three new office sites in DC, New Carrollton and Alexandria will save Metro – and taxpayers – significant money in the long term, while spurring additional private development and job creation in the surrounding communities.”
Last fall, Metro announced the selection of L’Enfant Plaza as the location of its new DC headquarters to replace the outmoded Jackson Graham Building (JGB) near Gallery Place. Earlier this month, Metro put the JGB site on the market for a long-term ground lease, a prime opportunity to redevelop the site for future high-density office, residential, hotel or mixed-use development. Metro plans to retain ownership of the property under the long-term lease, meaning any development would have the potential to generate sustained revenue for Metro to support bus and rail operations, help keep fares affordable, and contribute to the transit agency's long-term financial stability.
Metro GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld on March 10, 2018 issued the following statement:
"This morning, the Virginia General Assembly passed historic legislation that will provide, for the first time, a dedicated funding source for Metro’s safety and reliability programs. On behalf of all Metro customers and employees, as well as the communities whose economic wellbeing depends on a safe, reliable Metro system, we are truly grateful."
Metro is inviting employers from DC, Virginia and Maryland to learn how to they can save money on payroll taxes while offering a valuable benefit to their employees through the SmartBenefits® program. On Tuesday, January 30, Metro will host a free SmartBenefits seminar where employers can learn more about the program and get started.
SmartBenefits is Metro's IRS-compliant commuter benefits program that offers employers and employees an opportunity to save thousands of dollars in taxes using pre-tax transit benefit payroll deduction; a direct employer-paid transit benefit; or a combination of the two.
Employers can also use SmartBenefits to comply with the DC Commuter Benefits Law, which requires all employers with 20 or more employees to offer commuter transit benefits.
Unlike other benefits programs, Metro does not charge additional fees to participate in SmartBenefits. Employers may save $400 or more annually in FICA and unemployment taxes for each SmartBenefits participant. Employees who participate can save $1,000 or more in taxes every year.
Signing up is free, and employers only pay for the passes, fares or parking ordered as part of the benefits or payroll-deduction program.
To learn more about SmartBenefits, sign up for Metro's SmartBenefits Seminar:
WHEN: Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
WHERE: Metro Headquarters, 600 Fifth St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 (closest Metro stops - Judiciary Sq and Gallery Place)
Interested employers should RSVP to reserve a seat.
The benefits of SmartBenefits
Metro makes providing commuting benefits easy with its SmartBenefits program. Employers can save hundreds of dollars on FICA and unemployment benefits per employee.