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Posted at 12:21 PM ET, 06/28/2010

What would McDonnell do with Metro board seats?

By David Alpert

There's been a lot of debate about Gov. Bob McDonnell's push to change some of Virginia's Metro board seats from local elected officials in Northern Virginia to gubernatorial appointees. The Post endorsed the idea, while criticizing the funding threat attached to it, and many transit groups oppose it.

But amid this debate, one question isn't really being asked: What would McDonnell do differently?

Those who support the change seem to feel that he might "shake up" the agency, which admittedly needs some improvement. Opponents, meanwhile, note that the current Virginia members of the Metro board -- Chris Zimmerman of Arlington, Catherine Hudgins and Jeff McKay of Fairfax, and William Euille of Alexandria -- are some of the better members of the board, and constituents generally feel they are effectively speaking up for Virginians' needs.

Would McDonnell's picks vote differently? Would they push for different issues to come before the board? Would they become more active in the day-to-day issues or leave more to the general manager?

McDonnell should tell us. It would bolster his argument significantly if he were to identify, say, five specific board votes in the past year where his representatives would have acted differently than the current Virginia members. Because if he has a plan for "shaking up" Metro, we should talk about it. And if he doesn't, then does he really want board appointments to increase "accountability," or does he just want more power?

And if he doesn't get the seats, or doesn't get two, or doesn't get them right away, why doesn't he suggest some avenues for improvement to the people of the Commonwealth and the Virginia board members in particular?

You don't have to control members of the board to try to improve Metro. Before Virginians trust McDonnell with power over their transit system, why doesn't he try to work on actually improving it?

How about it, governor? What is your plan?

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.

By David Alpert  | June 28, 2010; 12:21 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, Metro, Virginia, transportation  | Tags:  Alexandria, Arlington, Bob McDonnell, Catherine Hudgins, Chris Zimmerman, Fairfax, Jeff McKay, Metro, Metro Board, Virginia, William Euille  
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