2 US lawmakers wish to repair Metro by rewriting the ruling charter

Two internal members of Congress are scheming legislation to reshape Metro’s ruling structure by forcing a District, Virginia and Maryland to rewrite a movement agency’s 50-year-old compact.

The apart initiatives by Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) and John Delaney (D-Md.) simulate a flourishing view in a Washington segment that Metro’s problems can be bound usually with elemental reforms in how a 3 jurisdictions oversee, conduct and account a agency.

Proposed changes could embody banning inaugurated officials from a Metro board, weakening kinship protections, strengthening slip and providing arguable funding.

“We can’t have a station handling procession anymore, and we need to have something rather big,” Comstock said.

Comstock is in a singly successful position on Metro affairs, both as a member of a House Transportation Committee and as a usually Republican from a evident Washington area in a GOP-controlled Congress.

Rep. Barbara Comstock’s check would settle imperative criteria for a new Metro compact, effectively giving a 3 jurisdictions an final to renovate a rail system. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

But a authorised and domestic obstacles are formidable.

Amending a compress — that dictates how Metro is governed and financed — requires a 3 jurisdictions to determine among themselves and afterwards obtain Congress’s approval.

Comstock’s check would settle imperative criteria for a new compact, effectively giving a 3 jurisdictions an final to renovate Metro.

Many of a due reforms are argumentative and have been debated for years though result. Changes that prove the
Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly could divide a Democratic-dominated Maryland legislature and D.C. Council.

A separate has already emerged in a segment over a doubt of either a reforms should embody a change in labor routine championed by Republicans and area business leaders.

Comstock’s check would finish a requirement that labor disputes be staid by an outward arbitrator. She pronounced that would assistance delayed a arise in what she views as Metro’s extreme labor costs.

But Reps. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) and Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.), along with Metro’s largest union, wish to keep contracting arbitration. Without it, they warned, a kinship would be expelled from a no-strike pledge.

“It’s a recipe for intensity trouble, large trouble, down a road,” Connolly said.

Delaney pronounced he wasn’t certain what position, if any, his check would take on labor issues. Other area Democrats, in both a House and Senate, also declined to take a organisation position for or opposite contracting arbitration.

The subject is so supportive that Lawrence Hanley, ubiquitous boss of a Amalgamated Transit Union, recently charged that Comstock’s criticisms of Metro workers’ compensate had a “racist” overtone. He faulted her for observant that members of ATU Local 689, Metro’s principal union, many of whom are African American, warranted too most compared with her voters in Northern Virginia.

Comstock discharged Hanley’s comments as “partisan politics.” She pronounced her views on Metro were widely shared, including by twin black Democrats: former D.C. mayor Anthony A. Williams and former Metro house member James W. Dyke Jr., both of whom are now active in business efforts to remodel Metro.

Comstock and Delaney also are divided about how quick to find some-more income for Metro. Delaney’s check would yield that a 3 jurisdictions and a sovereign supervision all boost appropriation for a complement as partial of reworking a compact. Comstock wants to wait until a improvements in governance are made.

“You have to have a reforms first,” she said.

Both Comstock and Delaney are in a routine of drafting their bills, that could be prepared within weeks.

Both bills will set tighter, veteran standards for Metro house members, who are allocated by a 3 jurisdictions and a sovereign government. One outcome could be a anathema on house members who are also inaugurated officials, who onslaught with twin loyalties to their constituencies and to Metro’s altogether interest.

“These can’t be domestic people anymore,” Delaney said. He wants a house members to be experts with a credentials in finance, government or transit.

The bills will also find other changes to make a house some-more effective. Comstock is deliberation strengthening slip by adding an eccentric examiner ubiquitous and whistleblower protections.

Both bills would press a District, Virginia and Maryland to renegotiate a compress by regulating a hazard that Congress would repel a capitulation of a existent compact.

That routine could embody environment a deadline of one or twin years for a 3 jurisdictions to determine on a new compress or risk Congress appointing a control house to take over a movement system.

That is a proceed adored by a Federal City Council, a ­District-based business and county organisation that has been operative with Comstock on her bill.

“We wish to have incentives for a parties to come together with a new compact, though afterwards we also wish to have a deadline,” Comstock said.

Delaney favors what he called a “prepackaged reorganization,” in that Congress would repel a support for a existent compress though immediately approve a new one — supposing a 3 jurisdictions determine to a new terms.

“Lay out a date in a destiny where we lift out,” Delaney said. “Before a ink’s dry on pulling out, we’ll pointer a new one.”

Interest in rewriting a compress has been building for a past twin years as Metro has seemed unqualified of elucidate ongoing problems with safety, trustworthiness and unsound funding.

Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans has led a carol of critics, partly since of his frustrations during removing a 16-member house and area jurisdictions to act with sufficient coercion to lift supports for a agency.

Evans (D), who also represents Ward 2 on a D.C. Council, pronounced he thinks Congress should repel a support for a compress immediately — because, otherwise, a 3 jurisdictions will not feel sufficient vigour to remodel it.

Republicans in a Virginia General Assembly have submitted a fortitude and a check propelling changes in a compact.

The Federal City Council, led by Williams, has captivated support from a prolonged list of area business arch executives for a offer to use sovereign legislation to force a 3 jurisdictions to rewrite a compact.

The organisation is in talks with another premier business group, a Greater Washington Board of Trade, about adopting a one business position on rewriting a document.

Although Comstock pronounced that Democrats such as Evans and Williams behind her position, she did not contend she indispensably had to win support of Democrats from a internal congressional commission for her bill. Instead, she pronounced she was looking to win a infancy in a House, that she can grasp relying exclusively on GOP votes.

“What I’m looking during is something that can get 218 votes and get by and repair Metro,” she said.

A few things are operative in her favor.

She skated to reelection in a rival district anchored by Loudoun County, her celebration has control of a House and a Senate and is about to take over a White House, and her crony Elaine L. Chao is staid to turn travel secretary.

A Metro check would substantially have to pass by several committees, including Transportation as good as Judiciary, where Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is a absolute chairman.

But area Democrats warned that she would need support from a rest of a internal commission to get a 60 votes effectively indispensable in a Senate to win passage.

“If we were joined opposite her, she’s going to have a tough time,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said.

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