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Posted at 12:36 PM ET, 01/10/2011

Plan for Metro board changes released

By Luke Rosiak

The District, Maryland and Virginia today released a joint plan and schedule for implementing changes to Metro's governance structure, following November recommendations by a coalition of regional groups including Metro's Riders Advisory Council.

You can read the 16-page plan here.

The plan "is intended to serve as an aggressive response to strong concerns the Governors and mayor have about WMATA performance and accountability... It is a means to presenting concrete actions to be taken."

The plan, geared in part towards a structure that minimizes a tug-of-war between various jurisdictions' interests, advocates a "regionally-focused" chair. It says the board in general should act as a unified, regional body; should be required to focus on high-level, long-term matters and leave details to staff; and should have a clear public input process.

It redefines the General Manager as Chief Executive Officer. And it says the safety oversight body should have enforcement powers. It calls for revamping the Board's committee structure, including creating committees on governance, safety and customer relations.

The board, led by the states' and District's top transportation officials, will function as the non-permanent WMATA Governance Work Group to implement some of the recommendations in the near-term. This year, it will "draft any legislation needed to implement governance changes." Within two years, those would be taken up by the federal government and state and local governments affected. The plan acknowledges it will likely be more than two years before all those jurisdictions adopt identical legislation.

Within six months, the work group will report back with more details, including possible limitations on jurisdictional veto and other specifics of implementation. It will then work with Metro's board on adopting the changes.

The report takes on issues not addressed directly by the earlier recommendations. It recommends revisiting the role of the federal government through consulting the General Services Administration and the Department of Transportation.

The changes come as the board itself has been infused with fresh blood, with several longtime members stepping aside. The plan includes staggered four-year terms in part to prevent such simultaneous turnover. It would also set "appropriate" compensation for the chair. Some departing members had complained about long hours with no pay.

The federal Government Accountability Office is also scheduled to release a report on Metro governance this summer.

By Luke Rosiak  | January 10, 2011; 12:36 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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But no democratic accountability, of course.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | January 11, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

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