By: Allan M. Siegel
The last few years have seen a spate of bad news for Metro (officially
known as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or “WMATA”).
There have been safety failures and accidents resulting in death and injury.
The Federal Government has been forced to step in and take over safety
oversight. Emergency repairs and maintenance have caused significant,
prolonged delays. Ridership and revenue are down.
This combination of problems has led to a variety of proposals to save
Metro from collapse in the long term. For example, The Washington Post
has proposed that the Federal Government impose a control board over all
Metro functions. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has proposed that the District,
Maryland, and Virginia (the local governments who control Metro), each
impose a sales tax to increase revenue for Metro.
The latest high-profile proposal comes from a group of businesspersons
and politicians, called the Federal City Council, which includes former
D.C. Mayor Tony Williams. The Council proposes that the local governments
who control Metro together amend Metro’s founding charter to enact
several reforms, including the following:
- Shrink Metro’s board of directors and require that its members have
professional experience in transportation in management. The aim would
be to streamline high-level decision-making at Metro.
- Repeal mandatory binding arbitration in union contract negotiations. The
aim here would be to keep down labor costs.
- Compel the local governments who control Metro to work together to secure
a dependable source of funding for Metro.
Unfortunately, without serious reform, maintenance delays and safety threats
will likely continue to plague Metro, driving more and more people away
and onto the roads (where injuries are even more common).
In meantime, Metro – like any other transportation company –
will have to be held accountable when its negligence causes injury or
death. If you or anyone you know has been injured by a Metro vehicle or
train, or at a Metro facility, you should
contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel,
P.C., for a free consultation.