FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2018
MetroNow Releases Metro Accountability Platform, Continuing Call for Comprehensive Metro Reform in 2018
To maximize the impact of the historic investments in Metro made by Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia this year, MetroNow calls for prioritization of reforms to the Metro board and operations
Washington, D.C.– Today, the MetroNow Coalition—a business, non-profit and advocacy coalition working across jurisdictional lines to achieve comprehensive reforms to Metro’s funding, governance, and operations in 2018—released its Metro Accountability Platform. The platform outlines five ways to restructure the Metro board and ten operational guidelines that will help this vital piece of Greater Washington’s transportation infrastructure to deliver safe, reliable, and efficient service in the years to come.
The release of the Metro Accountability Platform signals MetroNow’s continued commitment to securing comprehensive reform in 2018 and comes on the heels of regional leaders in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia securing $500 million in annual dedicated funding for Metro earlier this year. Establishing a dedicated funding source for Metro has been a critical need since the transit agency’s formation in 1967, but funding alone will not create a lasting, long-term solution for Metro’s sustainability.
“Now that we have secured dedicated funding,” said Michael Forehand, Senior Vice President of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, “we want to build upon reforms in place and establish additional common-sense governance reforms that will ensure a strong Metro system for years to come.”
“We’ve always said that dedicated funding and governance reforms go hand in hand and are intrinsically linked,” said Emeka Moneme, Deputy Executive Director of the Federal City Council. “A revitalized board can better allocate resources and develop stronger business plans to create a truly innovative system.”
To maximize the impact of the historic investments made by Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia during the 2018 legislative cycle, and to fully implement the changes necessary to deliver the Metro system that our region deserves, MetroNow recommends the following steps be taken to restructure the Metro board:
- Reduce the board to 8 members to allow for more streamlined and efficient decision-making.
- Require that board members meet a set of predetermined professional criteria to ensure effective guidance and sound decision-making.
- Establish a set term for board appointments, with removal only for cause, and with the potential for board members to be reappointed, in order to increase the level of accountability and understanding of key issues.
- Restrict the jurisdictional veto to major decisions affecting the scale or financing of the system, to help limit the potential for political interference in decision making.
- Ensure that the board has a clear fiduciary duty to Metro including allowing board members to be compensated at a reasonable level by Metro or an agent of Metro.
Much work is already being undertaken to improve Metro’s operations and governance by elected officials throughout the region, Metro’s board members, and management under the crucial leadership of Metro’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. MetroNow looks forward to supporting these efforts to maximize the investment in and raise the expectations for the region’s transit system for the long-term.
“The leadership of Paul Wiedefeld has helped many to regain confidence in the system, securing dedicated funding has shown that the political will is there, and MetroNow has demonstrated what can happen when regional leaders collaborate,” said Bob Buchanan, president of the 2030 Group. “We must build upon this progress. We can’t delay action any longer if we want Greater Washington to lead the nation’s economy, attract tomorrow’s talented workforce and innovative companies like Amazon, and provide current and future residents with a quality of life that makes them want to stay in the region.”
“In addition to making a clean break with the past way of doing business, we have to make sure that we are looking towards the future,” said Jason Miller, CEO of the Greater Washington Partnership. “This includes ensuring that the board has detailed, actionable information to maintain the system, and is charged with focusing on rider outcomes and looking at how Metro can become more integrated with the region’s other private and public providers.”
Beyond the five specific reforms to the structure of Metro’s board, MetroNow recommends ten operational guidelines in the Platform that look forward to the kind of deliverables the region can expect from a more responsive, performance-driven agency.
- Increase Metro’s focus on improving consumer confidence. For example, this could be achieved by creating a Chief Consumer Officer.
- Adopt a maintenance strategy and action plan providing sufficient actionable information to restore and maintain the system indefinitely.
- Institute an outcome-based capital improvement program driven by performance outcomes.
- Examine how the region’s bus system can improve its competitiveness and enhance access to economic opportunity.
- Be more proactive about operational innovation, which includes embracing technology and digital tools.
- Improve core rail and bus by transitioning to a responsive system better integrated with public and private providers in the region.
- Accelerate transit-oriented development at Metro facilities to maximize ridership and revenues.
- Allow for sound oversight by requiring the Office of the Inspector General to operate more independently from Metro.
- Establish a regional coordination body to lower transaction costs by coordinating with public and private systems across the region.
- Remain vigilant concerning the safety of riders and workforce as Metro’s first priority.
“Operational improvements that we outline in the areas of safety, maintenance, innovation, performance standards, regional transit service planning, and accelerated transit-oriented development, are essential for restoring Metro to a frequent, reliable and customer-focused system,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “These comprehensive reforms are critical to our regional transportation system, to improved access to jobs, cleaner air, and attracting the most innovative businesses and leaders.”
“Comprehensive reform will bring about the greatest benefit to the regional economy and the people who depend on Metro every day,” said Kim Horn, president of Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States and Chairman of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. “Great work on governance is underway by elected leaders, Metro’s board, and its management. That work is what MetroNow intends to support with the Metro Accountability Platform, and we will hold leaders accountable for taking action on the reforms and guidelines laid out here.”
MetroNow looks forward to continuing to work with local, state, and federal leaders to take action in 2018 to ensure Metro is positioned to deliver the transformative service demanded by the region’s riders, businesses, investors, and advocates.
Click here to read the Metro Accountability Platform
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About the MetroNow Coalition
The MetroNow Coalition is a group of regional leaders from organizations representing businesses and non-profit advocates who have come to together to ensure that action is taken to put Metro—the backbone of Greater Washington’s transportation infrastructure—on a safe, smart and
sustainable path forward in 2018 and beyond. We are dedicated to securing comprehensive improvement of Metro’s governance, funding and operational structures in 2018. Visit www.MetroNow.com for more information.