The Right Quid Pro Quo for Potomac Yard Arena

Letter to the Editor, Gazette Leader, March 7, 2024.

Metro has proposed reducing its current $750M shortfall through a combination of fare hikes, wage freezes, reallocation of maintenance capital to operations, and infusions of cash from DC ($200M), Maryland ($150M) and Virginia ($130M). It’s rumored that elected officials will support the relocation of DC’s Capital One Arena to Potomac Yard provided that Virginia produces a dedicated funding stream for Metro operations. 

A quid pro is needed to relocate DC’s Capital One Arena, but not this one. That’s because the Arena will require $135M to $215M in transportation capital improvements and $2.5M to $7.5M for Metro operational improvements in and around Potomac Yard. The transportation outlay plus an additional $2.8 billion in bonds and debt service puts Virginia taxpayers on the hook for $3B even before annual Metro subsidies are put on the table. 

A much more reasonable quid pro quo would be to demand that the owner of Monumental Sports pay for transportation improvements around the Potomac Yard Arena in return for legislative support.