Thirty-five years ago, Metro was built to bring suburban commuters to jobs downtown. When the system was planned, Tysons Corner was surrounded by farmland and Arlington County and Bethesda were bedroom communities.
In the early days, trains and buses carried a little over 100,000 passengers a day. Today Metro carries more than 1.2 million people a day. Despite the region's growth, investment and upgrades to the system did not keep up. Today's customers are experiencing the effects of years of chronic underfunding and underinvestment. The crown jewel of the Nation's Capital had become tarnished.
Thanks to our funding partners, we are now engaged in the largest capital improvement program since its original construction. Two years ago, we launched Metro Forward â€“ an aggressive, $5 billion, six-year investment program to rebuild America's transit system. We are now investing in what our customers value most: safety, reliability and good customer service. With continued investment, it is projected that we will get through the intensive Metro Forward "catch up" phase within the next five years. While catching up is important for our customers, it is not good enough when Metro is the heart of the region.
Economic activity resulting from Metro is critical to the prosperity of the region, providing mobility for people, and local businesses with access to employees and customers, while increasing the value of the surrounding real estate.