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Posted at 6:43 PM ET, 02/15/2011

Gray team: WMATA subsidy use illegal

By Luke Rosiak

District Mayor Vincent Gray's transition team has released a report on the city's transportation department, and he says the department under departed director Gabe Klein "skirted responsibility," suffered from a "lack of transparency," and put together a budget based on "deliberately overstated federal earmarks."

The document says streetcars already purchased can't be used because they're not handicap accessible.

And it says--shocker--lines are long at the DMV.

The report was put together by Cellerino Bernardino and Thomas Downs, a new District representative to Metro's board of directors. It says "DOT has been using the WMATA subsidy to fund project and operating costs as reimbursable projects (e.g., trolleys, the Circulator), without Council and congressional approval -- a violation the Home Rule Act."

Government Infrastructure and Transportation

In fairness to Klein's department in regards to the transparency charge, DDOT under his leadership rolled out several useful tools aimed at openness and communication. Such engagement is similar to Gray's recommendation for improving DMV service: "Recommendation: Promote use of online services via public education/outreach
and incentives for choosing online vs. in person transactions."

By Luke Rosiak  | February 15, 2011; 6:43 PM ET
Categories:  District, Metro, Transportation News, Transportation Politics  
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If it's true that the streetcars -- much beloved of the yuppie crowd -- aren't usable because they're not ADA compliant, then Klein should be sued for every penny of his salary. That would be HUGE negligence on his part.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 15, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Streetcars are not ADA-compliant they say, huh?

How about a little, you know, fact-checking and whatnot?

That opening lie about the outgoing administration tells us all we need to know about this hack report from a crew with a vendetta. Their act is clownish.

Posted by: shmooth2 | February 16, 2011 2:13 AM | Report abuse

Lines at the DMV? Everytime I go, I never seem to have to wait more than about 5-10 minutes. They are far more efficient (and courteous) than most other DC services... DCRA, DPW to name a few. I have called a dozen times for DPW to pick up my recycling and they have not to date... i just throw out the recycling with the trash now.

As for the streetcars, the whole fiasco shows poor planing and judgment from the beginning; they were purchased and sat in Europe for a while AND we had to pay to store them there AND (icing on the cake) the warranty ran out! Wonderful. Now they are not ADA compliant.

But I do support the streetcars and think it will only be an asset to the city, as long as they install them the most cost effective way... getting power from overhead, and not under the street.

Posted by: blablabla1 | February 16, 2011 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Are streetcars replacing all of the possible methods of transportation that are currently considered differently-abled-accessible? Presumably the rent-a-bike system isn't accessible to people who use wheelchairs, but that doesn't make it illegal.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 16, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Are streetcars replacing all of the possible methods of transportation that are currently considered differently-abled-accessible? Presumably the rent-a-bike system isn't accessible to people who use wheelchairs, but that doesn't make it illegal.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 16, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Vincent Gray and his cronies are rollback reactionaries who seem to be dead set on dismantling any progressive vestiges of Fenty's administration.

I fear for DC; it looks like this mayor will succeed in dividing the city even more, if that can be imagined.

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | February 16, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Let's see,

Klein spent millions to buy streetcars that needed overhead wires BEFORE checking with the Natl Capital commission for approval...

The streecars were purchased LONG before they were needed - long enough for their warranties to ire while they sat in storage - in Czech Republic, no less..

Klein "forgot" to make sure the streetcars could negotiate turns on DC's streets, a small matter that was discovered during construction...

City streets have been torn up for streetcar construction for over 3 years with nothing yet to show for it...

DDOT neglected to verify the streetcars were handicap-accessible before spending millions to acquire them.

Then there are the bike lane fiascos:

The 15th Street bike lanes were badly located, creating safety hazards for cyclists, a hassle for drivers, and an inconvenience for those who lived on the side of the street affected...

The PA Ave. bike lanes had to be re-installed because of serious flaws in the original configuration that made them dangerous to use.

I could go on.

These are only a few of Gabe Klien's "ready, fire, aim" gaffes. True, the guy had (some) good intentions. I personally support the streecars, the 11th Street Bridge, and SOME of the bike lanes.

But he was clearly out of his element.

And, according to his apologists, the Gray administration are "rollback reactionaries" and "hacks on a vendetta" for noticing and having the audacity to make their findings public.

Why do those who describe themselves as "progressive" so often resort to name-calling and insults?

One more thing: it's OUR money that got wasted (I say "OUR money" even though I live in MD because I own property in DC and therefor pay DC taxes).

Posted by: ceefer66 | February 16, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@ceefer66: Klein apologists find 'facts' to be a relic of the past. But those are the type of relics that keep the intelligent among us appropriately informed. If they don't like the message they render it worthless. To suggest that the report was generated by "hacks on a vendetta" is laughable.

For those who dared to read the actual report the methodology used to pull it together reads:

The committee co-chairs, sub committee leaders, and members interviewed agency directors and key management and technical staff and met with Council members and staff, officials of federal agencies providing FUNDING and OVERSIGHT, and representatives of advocacy, industry, and community organizations. They examined reports, budgets, plans and audits; consulted NATIONAL experts and officials in other jurisdictions; and reviewed public input garnered via town-hall meetings and e-mail exchanges.

Yea, that sounds like a vengeful mission alright.

Facts trump delusion.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | February 16, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

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