WASHINGTON — In the wake of an unprecedented shutdown of the entire Metrorail system, a Virginia member of Congress is calling for a shake-up of Metro’s upper management.
During an emergency inspection of the subway’s underground power cables Wednesday, crews discovered 26 damaged areas that needed to be repaired. Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat, says those problems should have been addressed long ago.
“These cables were identified by the National Transportation Safety Board in its report at the fatal incident at L’Enfant Plaza,” he says.
One person died in the L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident in January 2015, the cause of which was very similar to an electrical fire on Monday that prompted this week’s shutdown. Both incidents involved electrical malfunctions along third rail power cables.
“We shouldn’t have to close down the entire Metro system to identify and deal with a safety issue that was in fact identified almost 15 months ago,” Connolly said.
He adds that managers who knew about the problem and failed to act should resign or be fired by Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld.
“Those who sat on this issue ought to be held accountable,” he adds.