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Reform WMATA? Slash and burn? Or stay the course? –

dcogcadmin | April 8, 2015

What does WMATA need? Just more money, and otherwise everything is okay? Major cuts, abandoning hope of eight-car trains and fixing the Blue Line in this generation? Or a balance of real management reforms and more investment at the same time? These are the positions Virginia, Maryland, and DC officials, respectively, are taking.

Rail switch photo from Shutterstock

In a recent article in the Washington Post, Abigail Hauslohner and Robert McCartney reveal more details about management problems at WMATA: funding pensions out of the operating budget, failing to spend capital dollars on time, being months overdue on a required audit, and not delivering reports to the jurisdictions as promised.

Both DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Maryland governor Larry Hogan have been pushing for a “turnaround specialist” to run WMATA. They agree some of WMATA’s financial problems are serious. But beyond that, what each means by “turnaround” is somewhat different.

DC transportation head Leif Dormsjo wants a “CEO” to make service better for riders while also fixing these serious failures and problems with Metro’s overall culture.

Meanwhile, Pete Rahn, the new Maryland transportation secretary who insists he’s not a “highway guy,” wants to cut costs much more deeply. He wants WMATA to completely shelve any talk [Read More]