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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is a non-federal tri-jurisdictional government agency authorized by Congress, that operates transit service in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, including the Washington Metro. WMATA is jointly funded by the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland.
WMATA operates rapid transit service under the Metrorail brand, as well as fixed-route bus service under the Metrobus brand. WMATA is also part of the public-private partnership that operates the DC Circulator bus system. WMATA also has its own police agency, the Metro Transit Police.
Colloquially, Metrorail is known as "The Metro" and riders refer to WMATA's Metrobus as simply "the bus", unless they need to distinguish Metrobus from another local bus system such as Alexandria's DASH, or Montgomery County's Ride On. WMATA as a whole is often informally referred to as "Metro".
WMATA was created on February 20, 1967, after the compact was approved by the Maryland General Assembly in 1965, and passed through the Virginia General Assembly and Congress in 1966.  WMATA broke ground for its train system in 1969. WMATA's bus system is a successor to four privately owned bus companies, which were sold to WMATA in 1973.
Future of Metro
Currently, the Metrorail is being extended to provide service to the Tysons Corner area of Virginia, with further extension to Dulles Airport. Phase I to Tysons Corner is expected to be completed in 2011. Phase II to Dulles is expected to be completed in 2015. No stations will be opened until the completion of each phase. This will add another color to the Metrorail system, silver. Drilling began in mid-2006. There are other rumors of a Georgetown Metrorail connector, an extension of the Green Line northward to BWI Airport, another line along I-395 or Columbia Pike in Virginia, and the Purple Line, which is a circular line to go along the Capital Beltway, particularly the portion between Bethesda and New Carrollton. While there has been much discussion about all of them, none is in any official planning stage. The Silver Line alone took more than ten years to start construction.
Board of directors
WMATA was set up with a board of directors, comprised of a total of 12 members. Of those 12, six are voting members, and six are alternates. Virginia, Maryland, and the District each appoint two voting members and two alternate members. The position of board chairman rotates between the three jurisdictions. Most board members have other jobs as well serving on, for example, the D.C. city council; the board appoints a CEO and general manager to supervise the day-to-day operation of the agency.
At the outset, WMATA was led by general manager, Jackson Graham, a retired general in the Army Corps of Engineers, who supervised the planning and initial construction of the Metrorail system. He retired in 1976, and was replaced by Theodore C. Lutz. Richard S. Page, head of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, took over as general manager of WMATA in 1979.  Page resigned in 1983, amid increasing financial difficulties for WMATA. and was replaced by Carmen E. Turner, who served for seven years. Former New York City Transit Authority chief, David L. Gunn took over as head of WMATA in 1991, followed by Lawrence G. Reuter in 1994, and Richard A. White in 1996. White would serve as general manager for the next ten years. Dan Tangherlini replaced White as Interim General Manager in February 2006, and Jack Requa, WMATA's current Chief Operating Officer for Bus Service, assumed Tangherlini's duties as Acting General Manager on November 6, 2006. John B. Catoe, Jr., the current Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, will become the agency's 8th permanent General Manager beginning in January 2007.
On January 11, 2006, the Board of Directors announced the dismissal of general manager, Richard A. White. He was replaced by board member Dan Tangherlini, as Interim General Manager, effective February 16, 2006. White had three more years in his contract to work for Metro, but had come under fire for mismanagement. Jack Requa is currently the Acting General Manager.
District of Columbia:
- Gladys W. Mack, chairman and voting member
- Jim Graham, voting member
- Marion Barry, alternate
- Dan Tangherlini, alternate
- Charles Deegan, first vice chairman and voting member
- Marcell Solomon, alternate
- Gordon Linton, alternate
- Christopher Zimmerman, second vice chairman and voting member
- Dana Kauffman, voting member
- William D. Euille, alternate
- Catherine Hudgins, alternate
In 2004, the Brookings Institution released a report entitled "Deficits by Design" that found the agency's serious budgetary challenges owe in large part to its problematic revenue base. Most notably, Brookings found that WMATA's extraordinary lack of dedicated funding sources has necessitated an over-reliance on annually appropriated support that makes the agency vulnerable to perennial financial crises. As a result, the region's political and business leaders created a committee to look at new ways to fund the system, including some type of dedicated tax.
In 2005, Rep. Tom Davis introduced the National Capital Transportation Amendments Act that would provide a one-time cash infusion of $1.5 billion if the governments in the Washington area can come up with a dedicated revenue source for the agency..
- List of Washington, D.C. railroads
- List of United States railroads
- Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Compact (pdf). Retrieved on 2006-04-19.
- Feaver, Douglas B. "DOT Official Is Named to Head Metro;U.S. Mass Transit Chief Is Named to Head Metro", The Washington Post, 1979, March 23.
- Lynton, Stephen J. "Page Is Resigning As Metro Manager After Four Years", The Washington Post, 1983, April 3.
- Lynton, Stephen J. "Metro Board Names Turner As Transit System's Manager", The Washington Post, 1983, July 1.
- Kastor, Elizabeth, Stephen C. Fehr. "Metro's Top Official to Join Smithsonian", The Washington Post, 1990, October 3.
- Fehr, Stephen C. "New Metro Chief Welcomes 'Challenge';Gunn Takes Helm of System as Problems of Age and Cost Loom", The Washington Post, 1991, February 22.
- Fehr, Stephen C. "Board Pins Hopes On Next Metro Chief;Reuter Seen as a Superior Negotiator", The Washington Post, 1994, January 31.
- Layton, Lyndsey. "Metro Drops Longtime Manager", The Washington Post, 2006, January 12.
- Puentes, Robert. "Washington's Metro: Deficits by Design", The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, 2004.
- "HR. 3496 National Capital Transportation Amendments Act of 2005".