Top leaders of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will soon have to testify before congressional leaders about safety issues with its rail cars, a Virginia lawmaker said Monday.
BREAK - @GerryConnolly tells me he will soon call top Metro leaders to Capitol Hill to testify about the troubled 7000 series railcar safety issues.— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) December 13, 2021
“I don’t think that’s going to be a very comfortable meeting for the General Manager or his cohorts.” #wmata @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/ULniMnltaA
The transit agency in the nation’s capital city, known as Metro, is offering reduced rail service through the end of the year after it was forced to pull all of its 7000-series rail cars following a derailment near Arlington Cemetery in October. The potentially compromised cars make up about 60% of its fleet.
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Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat whose district includes suburbs near Washington, D.C., told WRC-TV he will soon call top Metro leaders to testify.
“Metro has to account for the fact that they essentially hid the fact that they had a safety problem with the series 7000 cars for four years. For four years, they didn’t tell anybody,” Connolly said.
Connolly said Metro “is going to have to explain themselves.”
“I don’t think that’s going to be a very comfortable meeting for the general manager or his cohorts,” Connolly said.
Connolly requested last month that Metro’s inspector general investigate the issues with the rail cars. The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee also requested Metro records about the cars.
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Metro has said it first became aware of a problem with the rail cars as early as 2017, but the problem appeared limited in scope at the time, and they addressed it with the manufacturer. However, according to the Washington Post, safety regulators were not informed of the issue, and it is not clear how many top Metro officials knew about the issue and when they found out.