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Fairfax Dems criticize McDonnell over Metro standoff

Fairfax County's top elected official Tuesday called Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's threat to withhold $50 million in matching funds from Metro a "hostile action," saying it was jeopardizing the transit agency's efforts to improve safety.

Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D) was critical of McDonnell (R) and his threat to withhold Virginia's share of matching funds for the agency in exchange for two seats on Metro's board of directors.

"I personally consider it a hostile act," Bulova said. "We are absolutely open to a discussion about adding new members but it should not be a factor about funding commitments. There should be no strings attached."

Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill), one of two principal directors on Metro's board and Fairfax's chief representative, called it an "urgent matter" and Supervisor Jeff C. McKay (D-Lee), chairman of the body's transportation committee, went further, calling the lack of dedicated funding to Metro an "enormous flaw" and McDonnell's funding standoff "irresponsible."

Republican supervisors largely disagreed with Bulova and their Democratic colleagues. A motion to send a letter to McDonnell passed 7-3 on a party-line vote.

"I don't think we should be dismissive of the governor's request," Supervisor John C. Cook (R-Braddock) said. Supervisor Pat S. Herrity (R-Springfield) said the Metro system "was in trouble. Now its time to fix it on the government level."

--Derek Kravitz

By Derek Kravitz  |  June 22, 2010; 3:01 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  
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Predictable response from the majority on the Fairfax Board (and from Cong. Moran and Connolly), who seem more concerned with protecting the Board seats for local politicians than in improving the Metro system.

They fail to note that the Maryland Governor and D.C. Mayor appoint some of their members of the Metro Board. The Virginia Governor should have the same opportunity -- esp. since the state provides Metro funding, and shares responsibility for overseeing Metro safety.

They also fail to note that the current N.Va. politicians on the Metro Board have been obstacles to reform -- they voted to rehire the disastrous John Catoe as General Manager, they blocked efforts to reduce costs, and they refuse to acknowledge the problems in Metro's management and safety structure. The appointees from the Md. Governor and D.C. Mayor have been more constructive.

The Post editorial last week had it right -- the Va. Governor (regardless of party) should be represented on the Metro Board.

Posted by: jrmil | June 22, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

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