Metro needs cash and lots of it, of­fi­cials say

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - — Robert McCart­ney and Faiz Sid­diqui

Metro’s fi­nan­cial prob­lems are so se­vere that the agency needs to ob­tain $800 mil­lion in loans and a long-de­layed fed­eral grant by Septem­ber to avoid run­ning out of money, District of­fi­cials said last week.

De­scrib­ing Metro’s cash-flow con­di­tion as “very se­ri­ous,” an of­fi­cial in the District said that without the in­fu­sion of cash, “they’re in­sol­vent.”

Metro said it is con­fi­dent it can get the money, but the sit­u­a­tion highlights the agency’s frag­ile fi­nan­cial sta­tus as Gen­eral Man­ager Paul J. Wiede­feld has be­gun warn­ing that sig­nif­i­cant new fund­ing is nec­es­sary.

First, Metro needs to raise its short-term bor­row­ing from banks by $100 mil­lion in April. The board will be asked on March 23 to ap­prove in­creas­ing Metro’s line of credit from $250 mil­lion to $350 mil­lion.

Sec­ond, Metro needs to ob­tain a grant of at least $130.9 mil­lion in June from the Fed­eral Tran­sit Ad­min­is­tra­tion that has been de­layed for years. The FTA has held up the money be­cause it said Metro lacked the proper pa­per­work.

Third, Metro needs to in­crease long-term bor­row­ing by $575.2 mil­lion by Septem­ber. The board has not yet ap­proved float­ing those bonds.

“We’ve started see­ing . . . the scrap­ing of the bot­tom of the bar­rel. I’m wor­ried.” Metro board mem­ber Tom Bul­ger

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