Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has requested the Maryland Transit Administration hand over a series of documents to explain the state’s handling of the shutdown of Baltimore's Metro.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has requested the Maryland Transit Administration hand over a series of documents to explain the state’s handling of the shutdown of Baltimore's Metro. (Patrick Semansky / AP)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings on Friday joined a growing chorus of criticism of the state’s handling of Baltimore’s Metro shutdown and requested the Maryland Transit Administration hand over a series of documents to explain the decision.

“I am deeply concerned that the MTA’s own documentation suggests that unsafe conditions may have existed for some time on the Metro subway,” said the Baltimore Democrat, who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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“If the Metro subway has been operated while an unsafe condition existed, I would like to understand what specifically prompted the immediate shutdown.”

The MTA closed part of the line on Feb. 9 and days later ordered a total shutdown — from Johns Hopkins Hospital to Owings Mills — following further inspections. The system is closed through March 11.

MTA administrator asks for peer review of agency's handling of Baltimore Metro track issues

Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn says he will request an independent peer review of the Maryland Transit Administration’s handling of maintenance issues on the Baltimore Metro subway.

In his letter, Cummings points to an agency chart from November that indicated 17 of 19 track segments were in such disrepair that they should not be used for trains.

“I would like to understand how [those issues] were apparently found on some track segments in November 2016 — and yet service apparently continued on those segments of track.”

Cummings is requesting copies of independent inspection reports, communications that might demonstrate when MTA became aware of track problems, and any correspondence with federal oversight agencies about those issues.

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