Fred Hiatt’s March 26 op-ed, “A good-news story. Really.,” aptly cited progress on dedicated Metro funding as an example of democracy at work. However, Mr. Hiatt glossed over the role of organized citizens.
Democracy works only when citizens cease to react as frustrated individuals and band together to make their voices heard. For instance, we as pastors have been organizing together with 200 congregations representing more than half a million households in the District, Maryland and Virginia to demand new funding for more than two years. We have rejected the cynical approach of some in the Metro debate that sought to gain votes for funding by throwing front-line workers and low-income passengers under the bus, so to speak.
Metro’s renewal cannot come at the expense of good, middle-class jobs lost to contractors who claim success by offering salaries so low that workers must seek taxpayer-funded public assistance to survive. Progress cannot come at the expense of low- and middle-income residents who rely on robust service for access to jobs, schools and doctors.
Our organizations will remain engaged so that we all see the day when an equitable, sustainable, world-class transit system operates in our growing region.
Austin Almaguer, Vienna
H. Lionel Edmonds, Washington
Michael Armstrong, Silver Spring
The writers are members of the
Metro Industrial Areas Foundation.