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.