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Posted at 1:56 PM ET, 01/24/2011

Va. bill would alter Metro board

By Anita Kumar

Gov. Bob McDonnell would have the power to appoint a member to the Metro Board of Directors, under a bill proposed by a Northern Virginia delegate.

The bill, HB 2000, introduced by Del. James LeMunyon (R-Fairfax) would allow the governor to appoint an additional member to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, who would then sit on the Metro Board.

McDonnell (R) has tried -- unsuccessfully -- to gain two state seats on the board.

In October, the commission voted 12 to 6 to keep control of the state's four members on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board at the local level.

The commission, made up of 19 local and state elected officials plus the state's public transportation director, appoints Northern Virginia's Metro directors. The Metro board's 14 members include two representatives from Fairfax County, one from Arlington County and the Alexandria mayor. Two alternate seats appointed by the federal government remain empty.

In November, a task force of the Greater Washington Board of Trade and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recommended that Virginia, Maryland and the District change the Metro agreement to increase the number of members from each jurisdiction from two to three, with one member appointed by the chief executive of each jurisdiction.

McDonnell spokesman Jeff Caldwell said the governor had planned to have his own Metro bill, but LeMunyon filed his bill first. Caldwell said in fiscal 2011, Virginia will provide 54.7 percent of state and local funding going to Metro.

"The governor and members of the General Assembly agree that the Commonwealth must have a voice on the WMATA Board of Directors,'' Caldwell said. "Adding a transit professional representing the Commonwealth's interests will improve safety and better enable the Commonwealth to maintain this level of investment."

By Anita Kumar  | January 24, 2011; 1:56 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, MetroAccess, Metrobus, Northern Virginia  
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Makes sense. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Besides - they could use some professionals on there who actually know how to run a transit system. The politicians running it now have their own record to stand on - which includes broken escalators, repeated fires, accidents, deaths.

Posted by: mwcob | January 24, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

This won't de-politisize the board.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 24, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

If we aren't going to get directly elected board members, they might as well be appointed by the governments who are actually paying the bills.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | January 24, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Three cheers for Del. LeMunyon!

His bill would help to implement the recommendations of the blue-ribbon Metro reform commission, which called for greater oversight by the Governors and D.C. Mayor.

The current Va. members on the Metro Board are self-serving local politicians. They're a a big part of Metro's governance problem. They have been obstacles to reform of the transit system, and they need to be replaced.

The Governor of Va. should be represented on the Metro Board, just like the Governor of Md. and the Mayor of D.C.

Posted by: jrmil | January 24, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

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