Regional Priorities

Fixing Metro

Washington’s Metro system is in crisis. The Metro faces an interlocking set of existential challenges: safety, operations, governance, funding and ridership.

Today, safety concerns remain, funding needs persist, and additional governance changes are long overdue. To that end, the business leaders who are members of the Greater Washington Board of Trade deemed this the biggest potential business crisis facing the region.

a message to our members

As Metro operations continue to improve thanks to management attention, SafeTrack improvements and the delivery of new railcars; the financial situation becomes more concerning. To sustain progress, substantial new funds must be secured. The Board of Trade continues to have Metro as a priority issue and is working to advance new oversight and finance mechanisms that ensure long-term viability of our regional economic engine.

To that end I wanted to make you aware of our Op-Ed in today’s (03/05/17) Washington Post. We are collaborating with other business organizations that recognize the importance of Metro to this region.

We ask for your assistance in spreading the word of this important work. We have created this one page document to help identify the key issues of concern.

Thank you,

Terry McCallister (2017 Chair) and Kim Horn (2017 Chair-Elect)

OP-ED featured in March 5, 2017 washington post

Metro’s day of reckoning is upon us
By Terry D. McCallister and Kimberly K. Horn

In the movie "Lincoln," there is a pivotal moment in which the nation's elected leaders must make a decision critical to the future of the nation. President Abraham Lincoln tells them solemnly: "The day of reckoning is nigh upon us."

That assessment can also be applied to the decisions that the D.C. area faces on Metro. Reform and additional funding are needed to save our region's most visible economic development engine - one that also plays a crucial role in D.C. tourism and security, as well as the federal workforce.

The region's business community recognizes that drastic action is required right now. That is why our organization, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, is urging our regional government leaders to make significant governance changes at Metro to assure that any enhanced funding for the system is used efficiently to improve safety, operations, reliability and public confidence in Metro. These changes should include reducing the Metro board to nine members from its current 16, setting relevant board-member qualifications such as those included in the legislation creating the Metro Safety Commission, making the choice of the board chair a joint decision by the Maryland and Virginia governors and the D.C. mayor, eliminating the single-jurisdiction veto and modifying binding arbitration.

Federal legislation is being developed to address the problems, but decisive action must be taken by our regional leaders, namely Govs. Terry McAuliffe (D) of Virginia and Larry Hogan (R) of Maryland and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D). They should meet immediately to develop needed changes to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Compact. Our region must take control of its destiny; otherwise, the only viable option may well be a federally imposed control board. No regional leader should want to see that become the solution.

Metro's success is vital to growing our regional economy. We are reaching out to other business groups, riders, our employees and the public to join this effort to urge our regional leaders and Congress to act now to make changes in governance, labor matters, operations and accountability while we also look for appropriate dedicated funding sources to assure that Metro's fiscal house is in order.

Metro's recent outstanding performance during the presidential inauguration and the Women's March demonstrated that the system can still deliver, but it needs our help. Investing in Metro, both organizationally and financially, is essential to our region's future. The day of reckoning is indeed upon us, and we need to answer the call.

Terry D. McCallister is the 2017 chairman of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. Kimberly K. Horn is the 2017 chair-elect of the organization