Comstock, Delaney to introduce bill reforming Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors

U.S. Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) and John Delaney (D-MD) announced forthcoming legislation on Wednesday that would reform the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) board of directors.

The WMATA Management Reform Act would require that the next three federal appointees to WMATA’s board are certified transit experts, certified management experts or certified financial experts.

“Metro’s failures are stark, the stakes could not be higher and the need for reform is crystal clear,” Delaney said. “My constituents deserve a world-class transportation system that is safe and reliable and right now Metro is falling far short of that standard. The WMATA Management Reform Act will make sure that Metro’s board of directors actually has certifiable transportation, management and financial experts. How can we expect Metro to be run well otherwise? This legislation doesn’t remove the ability of local jurisdictions to choose their board representatives, but it does ensure a baseline level of qualifications.”

Additionally, a majority of federal representatives on the board would be required to meet the legislation’s requirements at all times. The requirements would also apply to participating jurisdictions if a new compact should be enacted.

“It is clear that Metro needs a top-to-bottom cultural change and that starts with WMATA’s board of directors,” Comstock said. “This legislation will professionalize WMATA’s board so that it can competently oversee the second-busiest transit system in the United States. My constituents and Metro’s customers deserve a safe and reliable system. New General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has shown his willingness to change the culture of Metro. Real technical leadership is needed to improve service and its culture, and this legislation would provide expertise on WMATA’s board of directors that is relevant to the needs of the system.”     

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