WASHINGTON - The National Transportation Safety Board has been calling for the federal government to step in to oversee plans to make Metro safer for over a year. After all the haggling between Metro’s board and local and state lawmakers over how to fix the dilapidated rail system as well as how to fund it, Metro Board Chair Jack Evans is now asking those to consider having the feds to take it over entirely.
The biggest change if the federal government were to step in would be the makeup and size of Metro's board. Evans said a smaller board that could restructure without interference from the outside and be able to use federal funds to cover Metro's debt and long-term investment needs, which are in the billions, would be more effective.
Cutting down on the size of the board also means cutting out the regional voices of Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia. Evans said their interests are more in line with their areas rather than being focused on what is best for the entire system.
The idea of the takeover was brought up in a Washington Post editorial on Tuesday. Evans responded by telling the newspaper that only a board with extraordinary powers to raise money and fire employees can fix the agency's problems.
But a federal takeover of the system would be a massive uphill battle, which would include legal and political hurdles.
Evans has fought to get D.C., Maryland and Virginia to chip in more money. But the pushback has been forceful.
The debate will be continued Friday morning when the Metro’s Board of Directors is scheduled to meet once again.