Should the federal government snowproof Metro?
There seems to be a correlation between availability of public transit and whether or not federal offices open. Generally, the announcements for closure have been coming shortly after Metro announces that their above ground stations will be closed.
Certainly other factors come into play, such as plowing of parking lots and road condition, but public transit seems to be one of the primary dictating factors.
OPM closed many offices early when the big storm hit Friday, and the entire government has been shut down since. That's six and a half days. Figuring that weekends don't cost quite as much to cancel, this snow storm has probably cost the Federal Government half a billion dollars.
That these closures usually occur only once or twice annually, versus the eight or nine we've had this year. Still, over time, this becomes billions of dollars. How much would it cost the federal government to clear above-ground Metro tracks? How much would it cost to pay for more heating tape for third rails?
In fact, how much extra would it have cost to place some of the above ground stretches of Metro underground? That one perhaps would still have cost too much to have been worth it, but it goes to show what a profound effect our transit investments have had on the productivity of our city, region, and country long term.
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