Metro board member gets voting right
Metro federally appointed board member Marcel Acosta on Wednesday was elevated from non-voting to voting status by the General Services Administration (GSA).
GSA spokeswoman Sahar Wali said Acosta, one of two federal members named to the board in January, became the "premier candidate" to become a voting member in the course of the GSA search for the remaining two federal members.
Acosta has served for almost 10 years as executive director of the National Capital Planning Commission, the federal agency responsible for planning in the Washington area.
A law passed by Congress nearly two years ago mandates that the GSA appoint two voting directors and two non-voting directors representing the federal government to the board. The GSA appointed two directors in January -- Mortimer Downey as a voting director and Acosta as a non-voting director.
In exchange the legislation granted Metro $1.5 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years for capital needs and safety improvements. Congress must authorize $150 million each year and the District, Maryland and Virginia must each provide matching funds.
The board of directors is composed of eight voting members and eight alternates. The District, Maryland, Virginia and the federal government each appoint two voting members and two alternates, although the two federal non-voting seats remain vacant.
U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) said she is pleased by the decision to change Acosta's status but urged the Obama administration to name the other members soon. She said much remains to be done to improve safety throughout the transit system.
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