McDonnell Plays Politics With Crucial Metro Funding, Risks Trashing System


    For anyone who still thinks Bob McDonnell is a “moderate” or a reasonable guy in any way, I present to you, “Virginia threatens to withhold funds from Metro”.

    Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s administration threatened Wednesday to unravel a $1.5 billion federal funding plan for Metro unless the state gets two members on the agency’s board of directors.


    If Virginia reneges on the pledge to match the $150 million from the federal government, the repercussions would be immediate, Metro officials said: An $886 million contract for 428 rail cars that the federal program will fund will be in jeopardy.

    The first $12.5 million of Virginia’s share is due July 1. “I personally don’t plan [on paying it] until we have an agreement,” said William Pittard, chief financial officer of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

    That’s right, Bob McDonnell is willing to risk trashing Metro unless he gets to stock it with his political allies. In short, McDonnell wants to put Republicans (most likely ones who love cars and hate public transportation) on the Metro board, instead of Democrats like Cathy Hudgins, Jeff McKay, Chris Zimmerman, and Bill Euille. And, if he doesn’t get his way, apparently he’s going to take Virginia’s pledged contribution and go home.

    Other than risking the deterioration and/or collapse of Metro, Bob McDonnell also risks – as noted by D.C. Council member Jim Graham – “a serious breakdown of regional cooperation, which has been the essential element of Metro.”

    In short, Bob McDonnell’s decision to play politics with the future of Metro is about as wildly irresponsible as he can get.  It’s almost like staking the future of Virginia’s transportation system on hypothetical offshore oil drilling revenues that were almost certainly never going to materialize.  It’s also like putting a guy who ripped off another state’s pension funds in the position of “reforming” our own state government.  Or, how about allowing his Commerce and Trade Secretary to remain on the boards of the same large corporations he’d be overseeing?  Etc., etc.

    More to the point, I’ll leave you with the following words used in the Post article to describe what McDonnell’s doing here: “startling,” “arbitrary,” “shuffling the deck chairs while the Titanic is sinking,” “criminal.”  Just keep that in mind as you get on an overcrowded Metro train this morning, or as you sit stuck in traffic. If Bob McDonnell gets his way and Metro completely collapses, just imagine how much worse it will be.


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