WASHINGTON - Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and District of Columbia Mayor-elect Vincent Gray issued the following statement today regarding the Moving Metro Forward report. The report was issued by the Joint WMATA Governance Task Force which was sponsored by the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
“We welcome the results of the report on reforming the governance structure of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) in order to make certain that Metro is a safe and efficient transit system that meets the needs of the Greater Washington region. The 18-member Task Force worked diligently and conducted extensive outreach to the expert opinions of officials and stakeholders, as well as the general public, to reach their recommendations. It is obvious that much must be done, both immediately and in the long-term, to reverse the serious decline in safety, performance and reliability currently being experienced by Metro and to restore the system to preeminence among the nation’s transit operations.
“We have reviewed and discussed the report and agree that WMATA’s governance structure needs reform. We support, in principle, the Task Force’s longer-term recommendations for eliminating the role of alternate Board members and increasing the number of primary Board members from two to three for each Appointing Authority, extending the Chair’s term length to more than one year, and exploring a more limited veto provision to more appropriately balance both system and local needs.
“We are committed to working together to advance the implementation of the Task Force’s recommendations. To that end, we have directed our respective secretaries of transportation to meet and develop a comprehensive Moving Metro Forward implementation plan and schedule. The secretaries will reach out to key stakeholders, including the WMATA Board of Directors, the Tri-State Oversight Committee, the WMATA Interim General Manager, the Washington Suburban Transit Commission Chair, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission Chair, the District of Columbia Council Chair, and the General Services Administration Administrator, in order to solicit their input. The secretaries will submit their plan to us for approval in 45 days.
“Finally, we will meet with Congressional members that represent WMATA’s service area since implementation of some of the recommendations would require Congressional consent and may be impacted by a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on WMATA governance commissioned by Senator Barbara Mikulski. We look forward to working with our Delegations to ensure WMATA’s governance structure will start WMATA back on the path to being one of the world’s safest and highest performing transit systems.
“We thank the Task Force, Greater Washington Board of Trade and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments for their efforts and are ready to get to work.”