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McDonnell Folds on Metro Funding


In the end, that didn’t take too long.

Metro’s board of directors signed off Thursday on an agreement with Virginia to provide $300 million to match federal funding for safety improvements, ending a month-long battle over the state’s push to be represented on the board.


The administration of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) had threatened to withhold Virginia’s share of the money unless the state gets two members on the Metro board. Four seats are held by elected officials from Fairfax and Arlington counties and Alexandria, and McDonnell wants to appoint two of them. Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton said Virginia wants more accountability from Metro in the aftermath of last year’s fatal Red Line crash. Including its contribution to the matching funds, the state will contribute more to Metro than the Northern Virginia local governments, Connaughton said.

But the state decided last week to pay without an agreement on the seats.

Late Thursday, Virginia officials signed the deal.

As a daily Metro rider, I thank Bob McDonnell, even if it took some arm-twisting to get him to stop playing games with this absolutely crucial piece of Northern Virginia’s transportation system. I guess McDonnell’s theory of governing is, “try all the wrong things until we eventually are forced to do the right thing!”


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