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Lawmakers Weigh in on Metro Closure: ‘It’s Sad That It’s Come to This’

Update at 6:10 p.m. — The federal government is open tomorrow. Federal workers has the option of unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework, says the Office of Personnel Management. Arlington County government is also open with a telework option.

Arlington’s congressional delegation is weighing in on tomorrow’s complete closure of the Metrorail system for safety inspections.

Rep. Don Beyer (D):

Our office has been in contact with the Office of Personnel Management. We have urged them to allow unscheduled leave for federal employees, and I urge other employers in the region to be equally flexible, allowing employees to take unscheduled leave or to work from home if at all possible.

I have confidence in the new leadership of Paul Wiedefeld and look forward learning more about the technical details behind this decision. We must overhaul this critical public transit system, and we must continue our federal investment in Metro in order for that to happen. Tomorrow we will get a glimpse of what our nation’s capital will look like without this essential system.

Sen. Mark Warner (D):

“It’s sad that it’s come to this, but hundreds of thousands of people depend on the safety of the Metro system. We need to take it seriously. I’m glad that Metro’s new leadership is treating system safety with an appropriate sense of urgency.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D):

“While this is an unprecedented step and a major inconvenience for thousands of daily commuters, it’s also the type of tough call that signals WMATA’s new management team is doing whatever it takes to ensure the safety of Metro riders.  Employers across the region — including OPM — should offer their employees flexibility tomorrow as they face limited transit options.”

Update at 6:25 p.m. — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) just issued the following statement.

“While I am disappointed that the closure of the Metro system has become necessary, I support the new management’s decision to take whatever steps are necessary to keep Virginians safe. Metro is essential to the economic health and quality of the Northern Virginia region and our entire Commonwealth – it’s time to make it the safe, accessible and dependable asset Virginia families deserve.”

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