Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Good Report. Now What?

Update 2: Virginia Gov's response (doc)
Maryland Gov's response

A report released today by the Board of Trade and the Council of Governments calls for dramatic changes to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

You can read the whole thing here (Metro's response), but the main takeaway seems to be:
The Task Force finds that what may have been an appropriate governance structure for WMATA to build a new transit system in the 1960s is not appropriate to operate today’s mature system.

Reading through the report, you're likely to nod your head in agreement quite a bit as it details the lack of accountability, lack of leadership, lack of regional cohesion, a seeming ignorance of the best practices of other transit systems ... the list goes on and on.

The report urges the mayor of DC, and the governors of Maryland and Virginia to take "a much stronger role" in selecting the Board members.

It all sounds pretty good, but then you get to this sentence, and you wonder if anything will ever really change.
In 1982, a study commissioned by the Greater Washington Research Center concluded that while the composition of the Board may have been appropriate to plan and construct Metrorail, “it is entirely unsuitable for overseeing the management of an operating transit system.”
In 2038, let's hope we will read a report about marked improvements at Metro, not another indictment of its major shortcomings and inability to change with the times.
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