A group of regional business leaders and coalitions this week announced a new effort to lobby local jurisdictions to approve dedicated funding for Metro and to push for better operations and governance of the rail system.

The MetroNow coalition includes business and non-profit groups that view Metro as essential to the economic and overall well being of the region.

MetroNow members include the Federal City Council, Greater Washington Board of Trade, the 2030 Group, Coalition for Smarter Growth, District of Columbia Building Industry Association, Leadership Greater Washington, the Greater Washington Partnership, and the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

The chief goal of MetroNow is to see local legislatures approve a plan for a dedicated funding source for Metro. Such plans have been proposed in the past, but local jurisdictions have been unable to agree on a funding plan. Last year, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments endorsed a measure calling for Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to each contribute $125 million in new funding, but it was approved without the support of District leaders.

Lawmakers in Virginia and Maryland have said they could take up funding bills this year, and there have been a variety of funding proposals ranging from taxes on real estate sales, taxes on hotel stays, to a regional sales tax.

MetroNow also said it wants to see the 16-member Metro board replaced with a smaller independent board, and a commitment of at least $150 million from the Federal Government.

Do you endorse the idea of a dedicated funding source for Metro?