Bill would allow only experts on Metro Board, limit labor deals

WASHINGTON — The federal government would pull the rug out from Metro’s governance structure without significant reforms to the Metro Board, under a bill filed Thursday by Rep. John Delaney.

The Maryland Democrat’s bill would require that all members of the Metro Board be experts in transit, safety, management or finance; that the board member’s first fiduciary duty be to Metro; and that the Metro Compact that outlines how the system is managed be changed to add the transit agency’s “CEO” to the existing eight-member board.

The bill would also require a certification that any changes to Metro’s collective bargaining agreements allow the agency to improve safety and service and to lower costs while still meeting federal wage requirements.

If the region agrees to the changes, Metro would get $75 million from the federal government each year that D.C., Maryland and Virginia would have to match. Delaney’s office said the framework of the bill was run past other stakeholders

If the changes are not made, the bill would remove congressional approval for the Metro Compact 18 months after the bill becomes law. Some advocacy groups have suggested that withdrawal of approval would force bigger changes for the system.

Currently, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and the federal government each get two voting members on the board. The regional nature of the appointments has led to acknowledgments of parochialism. There are also two alternates from each jurisdiction who have votes in committees.

Only the federal government appears to have all four members today who might meet the requirements of the bill. Three of the members appointed by former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx are safety experts.

Like with the long-promised and long-delayed Metro Safety Commission, only the region’s governments can approve or create significant changes to Metro’s governance structure.

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