WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Leaders of Washington’s Metro transit agency are proposing new tunnels to help the system keep up with growing demand.

The tunnels are included in a plan presented Thursday to the transit agency’s board of directors.

Metro says the plans include the possibility of new tunnels in the core of the system to separate lines that currently share tunnels. The plan also calls for building express tracks along the Silver and Orange lines in Virginia, as well expanding current lines.

Specifically, Metro’s plan — dubbed “Momentum” — features a new line through Georgetown and rail service between Old Town Alexandria and Prince George’s County. The latter requires building a new tunnel under the Potomac River.

Metro officials expect to see major growth in the region over the next 35 years. And they’re formulating a plan that will enable the transit agency to keep pace with the projected 1.6 million people and 1.4 million new jobs coming to the area.

Metro management says an additional $740 million a year would allow the transit agency to prepare for growth of the system and challenged the region’s leaders to develop a funding strategy. The district, Maryland, Virginia and the federal government contribute to Metro’s operating and capital budgets, which total $2.5 billion.

Metro general manager Richard Sarles says doing nothing is not an option for the agency.

“If we don’t do those things the economy will suffer,” he said.

WNEW’s Matt DelSignore contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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