Years of neglect have led to big problems for Washington, D.C.'s Metro system, and repairs need to be made now, the system's general manager told CNBC on Tuesday.
The beleaguered Metro is the second-busiest system in the country, with 700,000 riders a day. In January of 2015, a woman was killed when black smoke filled a tunnel after an electrical malfunction. The system also suffered a 24-hour shutdown in March and just last week, a fireball erupted on the tracks just after a train pulled away.
"It has taken decades, to be frank, of deferred maintenance and investments just not being made and we cannot wait any longer. We have to deal with these issues," said Paul Wiedefeld, CEO and general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro), in an interview with "Power Lunch."
A yearlong safety and maintenance upgrade will begin next month to get the system back to "good repair," he said.
But it's going to take more than just the coming repairs to keep the system running smoothly.
"This is a multi, multibillion-dollar investment that has not been maintained over time and it will take multi, multibillions of dollars to maintain it into the future," he said. "That's just the reality of these large infrastructure systems that we have around the country."