Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Did Hell Freeze Over?

Yesterday, we read this article, which features some choice quotes from Metro Board member from Arlington County, Chris Zimmerman, a politician.
Chris Zimmerman, a member of both the Arlington County Board and the Metro board, said tweaking the [Metro] board’s governing structure won’t improve safety.

“The problem isn’t governance. The problem is funding,“ he said. “Metro has been chronically underfunded, year after year, decade after decade.“

That was followed by a quote from DC mayor Adrian Fenty, who said "The resources we provide [WMATA] need to be better managed."

Whoa! Has the world gone topsy turvy? Has hell frozen over?

A DC mayor is calling for better management of resources, while a Virginia politician is calling for keeping the current broken system AND giving it more money.

Zimmerman is out of touch here. Does anyone believe simply throwing more money at the current WMATA will transform it into a model of mass transit?

Not many.

WMATA needs more funding. This is indisputable. All U.S. mass transit does. But that funding needs to be watched like a hawk by the likes of someone other than Chris Zimmerman and his ilk. After all, one would presume he gave his approval to the utterly wasteful project to repaint the numbers on the cars.

If you want to read more on yesterday's politician pow wow on Metro accountability, check out this article from a local paper, which appears to swallow the naïve notion that politicians will do what they say.

Really? Va. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell will be engaged with Metro? After he was elected, the first promise he reneged on was his "transportation plan," a cornerstone of his campaign! Besides, the state doesn't pay for mass transit, and the first version of the story the paper ran about this huddle among pols said Bob appeared to be rushing off to something else.

Ten bucks says he's never even been on Metro. O.K. maybe as part of a handshaking photo op or for the 4th of July. But then again, with that hair, he'd have ended up in the Rider Hall of Shame for sure.

Other items:
Jim Graham proposes gas tax to fund Metro (WBJ)
NYC's guerrilla etiquette campaign (, h/t @nickjuliano )


Anonymous said...

Echo the Board needing a makeover. Riders need direct accountability, prefereably by voting for Metro Board representatives directly.

Anonymous said...

Arlington says this, VA says that, DC says this, graham says that. What a clusterf*ck!!

Anonymous said...

The current structure is PERFECT from a politician's point of view. There's only the most vague sense of accountability and blame can be passed around and around. It's perfect in that sense.

For riders, the structure is terrible.

Anonymous said...

As an Arlington resident, I generally share Zimmerman's view of a dense, walkable, mixed Arlington, but he's way off the mark here. WMATA needs fundamental reform OF THE STRUCTURE>

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with 10:29. Lack of accountability makes their lives so much easier. Why go through the pain of CHANGE in order to make things better when you can just pretend and circulate blame?

Anonymous said...

Haaaaa. Mcdonnell's hair is amazing. most pols is!

Anonymous said...

Anon, 9:18 add to your oh-so-true cluster-group the Union. I am not anti-union except in this particular union instance. Until that is dealt with, nothing happens. Bet not one of those 3 politicians will even dare utter the word, "union" let alone tackle that metro problem. And interesting question here too... how do those 3 get to work everyday? Metro?

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your blog, but won't be back. The orange/light brown writing is hard on the eyes.

Anonymous said...

Chris Zimmerman has been putting lipstick on a pig - METRO - for as long as he's been on the WMATA Board.

Zimmerman repeatedly shorted basic infrastructure and safety upgrades to fund stuff like time of arrival signs.

Concomitantly, Zimmerman in his other job, as a member of the Arlington County Board of Supervisors, has approved one mega development after another with 300, 400, 500 vehicle parking garages next to Metro stations.

So, surprise, now that Metrorail is at or beyond capacity, people are driving from their new expensive condos near the East Falls Church Metro station to their offices in Rosslyn.

And no one except the Green Party wants to talk about what happens when 80,000 commuters from Dulles meet the two-track Orange Line near East Falls Church weekdays.

Zimmerman shouldn't be sitting on any board, he should be sitting in front of a Federal Grand Jury explaining his role in the massive degradation of Metro since he's been on the WMATA Board.

Metrorail is an obsolete two-track system designed in 1965 to serve a low density suburban and medium density urban environment in a climate where it never snows and seldom rains.

AppleDawg said...

Would the funding be used properly? Does anyone believe that?

It needs new management across the board

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