The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is losing $400,000 in fares and parking revenue for every weekday that the shutdown drags on, according to a letter Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) shared on Twitter Thursday night.
In addition to the revenue losses, the government shutdown has left WMATA with $33 million in unreimbursed expenses. The letter Warner shared from transit authority officials this week estimated that, should the shutdown continue through the end of January, WMATA expects that funding gap to balloon to an estimated $50 million.
Holy smokes. @WMATA is losing $400,000 PER WEEKDAY due to the shutdown. That revenue loss doesn’t even include federal funds that are on hold because the Department of Transportation is shut down. This has got to stop. pic.twitter.com/CbMDqbyYU6
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) January 17, 2019
“Last week was the first non-holiday week to assess ridership impacts and travel patterns are beginning to emerge more clearly,” the letter, addressed to Warner as well as Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Benjamin Cardin (D-MA), and Chis Van Hollen (D-MA), read. “Metro’s preliminary analysis estimates that the shutdown has resulted in a 16 percent loss in average weekday Metrorail ridership and an 8 percent loss in average Metrobus ridership.”
WMATA officials said their highest priority is safety and vowed to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure safe operations.
“However,” they wrote, “if ridership declines continue, in the short term, Metro could consider staffing or service adjustments such as scaled back use of eight car trains and extra trains to meet rush hour demands.”
Any significant delay in the apportionment of 2019 transit funding, they added, could also result in WMATA starting its fiscal year on July 1 without any federal assistance to support its capital program.
Transit is hardly the only industry being dramatically affected by the government shutdown. As ThinkProgress reported earlier this week, hotels and restaurants near national parks are without their usual flow of customers, and employees are concerned about paying bills and making rent. There have also been reports of damage in the parks themselves, as many National Park Service sites remain open without adequate staffing.
In Joshua Tree, the park’s namesake protected trees have been cut down and certain areas have been vandalized. At other national park sites, toilets and garbage cans are overflowing and visitors are driving and hiking in areas typically banned to the public.
Nearly 800,000 federal workers are furloughed or working without pay, and they’re missing out on $2 billion worth of paychecks every two weeks as the shutdown continues. Additionally, as the FDA has stopped routine food inspections of seafood, fruits, and vegetables, and many employees have also reportedly begun filing unemployment claims or considered taking out loans to cover their monthly expenses.
While many could use the assistance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the agency is on the verge of running out of funding. More than 19 million families rely on the program, and small businesses that accept SNAP will also take a major hit.
Survivors of domestic violence could be affected next, as shelters across the country that rely on Department of Justice funding are unable to continue processing funding requests. Some employees have reportedly been buying supplies with their own money, despite not knowing whether they will receive their next paycheck.