WASHINGTON -- The Washington area subway system wants the
NFL to pay for extra service for last week's season-opening
celebration on the National Mall.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority asked the NFL
to send a certified check for $57,000.
"The check must reach the Authority no later than 5:00 p.m.,
Friday, September 19, 2003," read the letter signed by Metro
Assistant General Manager for Communications Leona Agouridis.
The letter was sent to Tracy Perlman, director of NFL
Entertainment Marketing in New York, who did not immediately return
a phone call from The Associated Press.
Metro said it provided "carefully developed" service levels
based on the NFL's projection that 200,000 people would turn out
last Thursday to see Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige,
Aretha Franklin and Good Charlotte.
The early-evening concert coincided with both the rush hour and
football fans going to FedEx Field in suburban Landover, Md., for
the NFL's regular-season opener between the Redskins and the New York Jets.
Metro initially estimated its cost at $63,462 when it planned to
run four extra hours of peak level subway service, but scaled that
back to just one hour because of lower than expected demand. It did
keep the subway running an extra two hours, from midnight to 2 a.m.,
to accommodate Redskins fans getting home from the game.
An NFL spokesman last week scoffed at the request, saying league
officials did not believe the extra service was necessary.
The cash-strapped transit agency needs every dollar it can get.
Metro already increased fares about 9 percent in June, and faces a
projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall over the next six years.
Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein suggested that NFL commissioner
Paul Tagliabue bring a check when he attends a Sept. 17 dinner at
the National Building Museum, just across the street from Metro
headquarters. Farbstein said she would "be happy to pick it up."
"It can't get more convenient than that," she said.