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Posted at 3:40 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

McDonnell vows to gain a seat on Metro Board despite legislature's inaction

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said he will continue to work to get a seat on the Metro Board of Directors after the General Assembly's failure to include language to that effect in the state budget that was passed unanimously Sunday night.

House negotiators had tried to put a provision in the budget that would give Virginia's governor the power to appoint a board member, but their Senate counterparts balked.

"I have been extremely clear with the leaders in Northern Virginia that it is absolutely wrong for Virginia to pay $50 million a year and have no seat at the table,'' McDonnell told reporters. "The federal government has two seats. Maryland has got a seat. D.C.'s got a seat. Virginia has got none ... I'm going to continue to pursue that. One way or another, we are going to have a Virginia seat on that board and I'm fully committed to it."

McDonnell (R) has tried -- unsuccessfully -- to gain two state seats on the board for months. Both Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) have backed his effort.

During Virginia's legislative session, which ended a day late Sunday, lawmakers killed a bill introduced by Del. James LeMunyon (R-Fairfax) that would have allowed the governor to appoint an additional member to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, who would then sit on the Metro Board.

The commission has repeatedly voted to keep control of the state's four members on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board at the local level.

The commission, made up of 19 local and state elected officials plus the state's public transportation director, appoints Northern Virginia's Metro directors. The Metro board's 14 members include two representatives from Fairfax County, one from Arlington County and the Alexandria mayor.

In November, a task force of the Greater Washington Board of Trade and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recommended that Virginia, Maryland and the District change the Metro agreement to increase the number of members from each jurisdiction from two to three, with one member appointed by the chief executive of each jurisdiction.

By Anita Kumar  | March 1, 2011; 3:40 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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This may be a moot point. If the republicans succeed in cutting the $150 million Congress committed to Metro then Virginia won't be giving Metro $50 million in matching funds, nor will Maryland or the District. The Feds should increase their savings by removing the new fedral board members that are no longer warranted.

Posted by: Virginiadem1 | March 2, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

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