At WMATA, a distinction that makes a difference
At today's D.C. Council budget hearing on DDOT, Committee Chairman and DC WMATA Board member Jim Graham strongly emphasized that D.C. does not want to see the capital budget cut and he is not pleased with the sudden windfall of capital money D.C. won't be giving WMATA.
Graham also said the WMATA general counsel has issued an opinion on a technical but important question: Whether Maryland's lack of payment for capital obligations in FY2010 is a "failure to pay" or a "failure to appropriate."
Apparently, Metro Matters [WMATA's capital program] says that if a jurisdiction doesn't pay what is promised, WMATA can borrow the money on its behalf and charge interest, but if the legislature of that jurisdiction just never appropriates the money, it can't. There was some question about which it was, and for at least some of the money, the general counsel believes it's a "failure to pay."
I'm trying to get a copy of the letter. As is sadly the case with most of this sordid saga, it was handed out to board members in executive session. This is a legal opinion so it could be valid, but WMATA management and the board continue to keep many details from the public.
[Visit David Alpert's blog, Greater Greater Washignton, to read more.]
David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
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