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Metro announced today its first ever Strategic Plan for Joint Development, a detailed roadmap to increase private development opportunities on Metro-owned land. The bold 10-year initiative establishes a goal to execute 20 joint development agreements by 2032, strengthening coordination with local jurisdictional partners and streamlining processes for private development partners.
As Metro prepares for the opening of both the Silver Line Extension and Potomac Yard Station in 2022, the transit authority will also advance its intensive state of good repair program. This includes completion of the multi-year platform reconstruction effort at 20 outdoor rail stations and several large-scale construction projects, including a major rehabilitation of the Yellow Line’s Potomac River tunnel and bridge crossing.
Metro Board Chairman Paul C. Smedberg announced that General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld, age 66, gave notice today that he will retire from Metro in six months, after more than six years at the helm of the regional transit agency.
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 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:
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, 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.
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.