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A push for federal members at Metro

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is urging the General Services Administration to press forward with appointing two additional federal members to Metro's board of directors.

The Obama administration named veteran transportation official Mortimer Downer and planning executive Marcel Acosta to the transit agency's board in January. Federal officials described the appointments as an urgent move in the face of a leadership vacuum, budget deficits and widespread concerns about safety at Metro. Metro general manager John. B. Catoe Jr. had announced his resignation earlier that month

Four federal appointees were mandated in 2008 legislation that authorized $1.5 billion in federal funds for safety-related capital improvements at Metro over the next 10 years.

Monday Norton released a letter she recently sent to GSA Administrator Martha Johnson urging the appointments. The 14-member board includes members and alternates from Northern Virginia, the District and Maryland, and would grow to 16 members with two new federal designees.

"Concern about the time that you have taken to appoint directors to the Metro Board is justified, particularly considering the safety issues that have plagued Metro over the past several years, including the June 2009 Red Line train collision, the worst tragedy in Metro's 34-year history," Norton said in her letter.

Norton observed that Metro will soon appoint a new general manager and is implementing recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board after the Red Line crash.

"The Metro Board is central to the policies and operations of the national capital region's public transportation system," Norton said in a statement. "GSA must quickly work to identify and select candidates for the two remaining seats on Metro's Board by year's end."

When Downey and Acosta were appointed, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) said the federal members would help "elevate the board beyond the parochialism that can sometimes affect the Metro board. We are looking for a systemwide perspective."

By Michael Bolden  | October 25, 2010; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Michael Steele would fit right in with this bunch of clowns.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | October 25, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Ignoring the racist comment above, federal members isn't enough. The entire system needs to be federalized. Local members are corrupt, irresponsible, and ineffective.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | October 25, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Considering the system is skewed towards Federal workers, there should be representation from Federal transportation experts. Also, with them on the board, they'll have a better understanding of how much Federal help the system needs without the politics brought in from outsiders.

Posted by: jckdoors | October 25, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't think that board members from Alexandria, Arlington, Bethesda, etc. count as outsiders. They may not use the system themselves, but thousands of members of their communities certainly do.

Posted by: wmsheppa | October 25, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

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