WASHINGTON - The nation of Qatar changed the language in a deal that would have kept Metro open late Thursday evening for the Washington Capitals game so any potential agreement has been called off, according to officials.
Metro officials said they were approached by Qatar to pay the $100,000 fee to keep the system open late as the Caps play the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday.
Metro typically shuts down at 11:30 p.m. on weeknights, leaving many area residents without a ride following late evening events. Metro charges a $100,000 fee to keep the trains running an hour later and seeks out donors to pay the fee. In the past, Pepco and Living Social have stepped up to pay the fee.
The nation of Qatar approached Metro about paying the fee for Thursday evening, but Metro Board Chair Jack Evans said Qatar changed the language in what would’ve been an agreement so the deal was called off.
As of now, there is no deal in place with any company to keep the system operating late for the game, potentially leaving thousands of Caps fans without the Metro following the game on Thursday.
The potential deal with Qatar raised questions about the prospects of a foreign nation paying money to run the subway system in the nation’s capital.
The Washington Post reports that Evans led a delegation to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in April in hopes of getting foreign investors interested D.C. projects. The Washington Post reports that Qatar previously invested heavily in the development of the District's City Center.
The proposed Metro deal raised questions as to if Qatar was looking to buy political clout for potential upcoming projects in the District. Human Rights Watch has called into question allegations of human rights violations in Qatar, leaving some to ask if Metro should be doing business with the nation.