I am pleased to sign today H.R. 3951, the National Capital Transportation Amendments of 1979. This act authorizes additional Federal funding to complete construction of the full 101-mile Washington metropolitan area rapid transit system.
A condition of the authorization is that the local jurisdictions and the States of Maryland and Virginia provide a stable and reliable source of revenue to operate and maintain this regional transit system. With the Federal commitment clear, we look forward to swift action by the local jurisdictions and the States.
The Metro system represents the decision of Washington area governments, the Federal Government, employees, employers, and other area residents to implement an energy-efficient, environmentally sound transportation policy. Already, the number of riders on Metro approaches 300,000 on an average weekday. The start of Saturday and Sunday service and the opening of new lines have brought more and more people to the system. Many of these trips would once have been made by car.
I note with optimism the recent decision of one area employer to begin to subsidize employee use of Metro, just as many have for years subsidized private auto travel.
This act, combined with the financing agreement signed by Transportation Secretary Goldschmidt and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority last September, gives us confidence that the facilities necessary to continue the move toward mass transit can be completed.
I congratulate all those involved on the progress made so far and urge them to continue to work together to develop and implement the most efficient forms of urban transportation possible. We in the Federal Government are ready to help.