Washington's Metro: Deficits by Design

This brief examines the unusual financial structure of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and finds that the agency's serious budgetary challenges owe in large part to its problematic revenue base. Most notably, the brief finds 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. The report concludes by reviewing a number of potential dedicated revenue sources for WMATA that officials might consider to supplement local operating subsidies over the long term.