Several local representatives worry that key considerations for riders and workers are now being ignored because of a change in Virginia law.
WASHINGTON — Northern Virginia leaders have reached an tentative agreement on how people who live in the region will be represented on the Metro Board for decades to come now that the region is essentially restricted to a single slot.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission is set to endorse a plan Thursday that would rotate the single voting slot among Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria and Loudoun, with a Fairfax County supervisor holding the seat most frequently as the largest jurisdiction.
Loudoun County will join the Metro Compact when the Silver Line extension opens in about two years, but Loudoun, Alexandria and Arlington would frequently not have their own voting member on the panel. The three jurisdictions would each be slated to hold a voting seat for four years out of a 20 year period. For eight out of 20 years, Arlington, Alexandria or Loudoun County would not have an alternate position either.
The schedule could be adjusted to keep a sitting board member in place if that person has the opportunity to serve as chair or another important position at Metro.
For now, Arlington Board Member Christian Dorsey is the lone local government representative on the Metro Board for Northern Virginia. Per state law, the state always holds the other voting slot. Former Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Corcoran is the current appointee of the governor.
Before July, Northern Virginia jurisdictions essentially had three slots on the Metro Board, but Virginia legislation banned the two alternates each from Maryland, Virginia, D.C., and banned the federal government from participating in board discussions or decisions.
The change has sparked significant complaints from Maryland’s representatives about the disenfranchisement of the local appointees of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and has led to the resignation of federal safety expert Bob Lauby from the board and has created tensions among the local jurisdictions in Northern Virginia that foot the bill for the commonwealth.
Several local representatives no longer able to participate in the meetings said they worry that key considerations for riders and workers are now being ignored.
Separately, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission has several new members appointed by the Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox. Under changes the House passed this winter, the House’s appointees to the key transportation decision-making panel are no longer members of the General Assembly.
The commission said that former Del. Jim LeMunyon, who lost his race for reelection last year in parts of Fairfax and Loudoun counties, marketing and public relations executive and Republican activist Danny Vargas, and lobbyist David Skiles had been appointed to the NVTC. The appointments were not previously publicly announced.
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