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Silver Line soon?: A summer Silver Line opening is looking more likely as WMATA and MWAA agree to let MWAA finish work even after WMATA has taken over the project. There's still no firm opening date, though. (Post, City Paper)

MoCo sees red over Red Line: The Montgomery County Council is not happy with Metrorail reliability. In fact, Red Line problems may have deterred at least one "major tenant" from locating in Silver Spring. (Gazette)

InKLEINed to listen: Former DDOT head Gabe Klein describes how a carrot and stick approach can encourage alternative transportation and discourage single-occupancy-car use. He also talked about Capital Bikeshare with Kojo Nnamdi. (Atlantic Cities, WAMU)

REALity can wait: After some confusion, it turns out DC residents can wait for their driver licenses to expire before getting a new, REAL ID-compliant version. Initially, the DMV said all licenses had to be replaced by October. (WAMU)

A costly Crescent: Cost estimates for rebuilding the Capital Crescent Trail along the Purple Line have nearly doubled to $95 million. But Montgomery County officials have promised to build it and may seek funding from the state. (Post)

Park(ing) year?: Los Angeles is allowing community groups to convert street space to public space for a year without permits, sort of like a long Park(ing) Day. The initiative also lays out preapproved designs the groups can choose from. (Atlantic Cities)

Are you a gentrifier?: If you have higher income than most, you are contributing to gentrification whether you live in an expensive area or a cheap one. Daniel Hertz argues, instead of angsting about where to live, affluent people should lobby for more affordable housing and more housing, period. (Atlantic Cities)

And...: DDOT has started work on a trail that will connect DC to Prince George's County. (TheWashCycle) ... The Old Post Office clock tower will close for 2 years starting May 1. (WBJ) ... Prosecutors want to send Michael Brown to jail for 43 months. (City Paper)

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Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  

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re: Klein's Atlantic Cities article,
But I was assured that any disincentive to driving alone constitutes a war on cars.

But Klein's example of his "stick" isn't that much of one. Yes, parking got a little more expensive but also a bit easier as meters were upgraded. I guess a public transit example would be re-purposing lanes or something similar.

by drumz on Apr 25, 2014 9:08 am • linkreport

Also LA's parking/park program was an idea I had a while back. What if businesses (restaurants mainly) could decide they'd like to pay for the privelege of having more room for seating or whatever than a parking space in front of their business?

LA's idea seems like a well rounded version (so far) of that idea.

by drumz on Apr 25, 2014 9:11 am • linkreport

Brown story:

"""Despite earning a yearly salary between $180,000 and $300,000 since 2007"""

DC Council salaries are too damn high.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 25, 2014 9:17 am • linkreport

With all this trail work being done, is there any money left over to finally complete the MBT?

We've been sitting on that forever, it seems...

by andrew on Apr 25, 2014 9:26 am • linkreport

@Tom, indeed. That's why I grate my teeth every time someone here suggests we need to double or tripe the size of the District Council. I understand the reasoning behind it and agree to some extent, but the salary issue needs to be addressed first. Where else can you get a part time job and make six figures? And it's not just the CMs; the staffers are doing much better than their counterparts in other cities.

by dcmike on Apr 25, 2014 9:32 am • linkreport

Prosecutors want to send Michael Brown to jail for 43 months.

43 months is abysmal compared to penalties for much lesser crimes.

As for CM salaries, they should just call it what it is: a full time job. You can not reasonably pretend that legislating a National Capital with 13 people is not a full time job. It demeans the stature of the position, and opens the door for corruption.

by Jasper on Apr 25, 2014 9:52 am • linkreport

I do have a hard time believing the metro coolaid about the red line. It does seem to break more often than other lines and after years of rebuilding under metro forward it still doesn't seem to be getting better.

I still love public transit, still take it every day, but I have never been on one that broke as often as the red line.

by Richard on Apr 25, 2014 9:54 am • linkreport

Well, regardless of what they're paid - and perhaps it should be less, or at least be full-time - that seems a bad reason to oppose enlarging the Council to make it more democratic and representative of the District as a whole.

And MoCo is right on the money re: Metro. Whenever I've moved in DC, part of my housing criteria is that it be near Metro, but NOT on the Red Line, especially if that's the only Metro station nearby. I don't understand how places like Swampoodle and Cleveland Park continue to survive having to rely on the especially decrepit Red Line (then again, I don't know how any of us survive having to rely on WMATA as a whole. Just quit making excuses and run more trains.)

by LowHeadways on Apr 25, 2014 9:56 am • linkreport

+1 Richard. Something is really wrong.

by h st ll on Apr 25, 2014 9:57 am • linkreport

MoCo's complaints about the Red Line are especially focused on the Eastern branch (Union station to Glenmont), and cite many complaints about service at Silver Spring.

WMATA response says that people don't have too many problems, citing anecdotes from the WESTERN branch, e.g Bethesda and Friendship Heights.

Sounds like WMATA is not eliding the issue. I have also found that the crowding and problems are worse on the East side. The East side is also where we had the serious accident a few years ago.

by SJE on Apr 25, 2014 10:07 am • linkreport

I'm glad to see MoCo holding WMATA's feet to the fire a little. I'm sympathetic to the idea that Metro was poorly maintained and had a backlog of maintenant work needed to get back to a state of good repair. But WMATA's continued refusal to provide detailed information on the timeline for its rebuilding project increasingly looks like a means to avoid oversight and accountability. If there's no schedule, they can never be "behind schedule."

My guess: The current state of affairs at Metro, including chronic Red Line breakdowns, is the "new normal" for a while. The Board, likely in response to pressure from local elected officials, will eventually come to realize that Sarles and Co. have been talking about a six-year rebuilding plan for three (or will it be four, five, or six?) years already and there's no way that the rebuilding is on track to be completed within six years. At that point, Sarles & Co. will be let go, and then, at that late date, we'll have to get a serious rebuilding project going, with schedules and milestones and all the metrics that usually characterize public infrastructure projects.

by Jimmy on Apr 25, 2014 10:07 am • linkreport

Doh: metro IS Eliding the issue

by SJE on Apr 25, 2014 10:07 am • linkreport

RE: Driver's Licenses
The article says:
But Babers said a holder of an old D.C. driver's license that expires in 2020 will still be able to board a plane with that card after the 2016 deadline for boarding planes because the city will have already started producing compliant licenses, and will thus be considered compliant with the federal law.

What? This makes no sense. In 2016 flights will require a compliant ID, but you can still use your non-compliant ID because the city has given other people compliant IDs? What?

by MLD on Apr 25, 2014 10:09 am • linkreport

How is it that the driver's license story was completely and utterly screwed up? Every publication (I'm not singling out WAMU because the Post had the same info) had the story wrong about the requirements? So that kind of suggest that the source of the problem is the D.C. government, which seems the most confused about the new requirements.

by kob on Apr 25, 2014 10:18 am • linkreport

@ Jimmy - I'm not so sure of that. I think Sarles, who wanted to retire but was sort of drafted to come to Metro, is playing the long game. It is hard to believe, but by 2018 (another 3 years or so), Metro will really be a different place. All of the 1000-series cars will be gone, and likely the 4000-series as well. All replaced by 7000-series cars, which will make a huge difference in the quality of people's everyday experience. The 7000-series will be HALF the fleet by then. Also, all of the 5000 and 6000 series cars will have the new flooring. And, all of the stations will have new lighting (if underground).

Perhaps most important, by 2017/18 automatic train control may be restored to several lines (Yellow, Green, Red) with Blue and Orange to follow. 2017/18 is when the current contract to finish the work to restore ATC concludes. 2017/2018 is also when Metro expects to release a bid for the 8000-series cars, which will replace the 2000 and 3000 series cars.

And lastly, supposedly 2018 (but more likely 2019) is when the Silver Line phase II will open.

So, in total, by the end of the 6 year program (depends when you figured it started), let's say 2017/18, Metro will really look and feel dramatically different and better.

by JDC on Apr 25, 2014 10:30 am • linkreport

MLD,

Can't wait until 2016 when airport workers start preventing DC residents from getting on planes because they'll naturally have no idea about any of this and only react on whether the license is compliant or not.

Then again, we've heard stories of DC residents being held up at airports because people didn't realize that DC has their own IDs.

by drumz on Apr 25, 2014 10:30 am • linkreport

@ JDC - I take some of your points. I hope Sarles is "playing the long game" as you put it. And, the current state of disrepair is, for the most part, not his fault. But the lack of any meaningful metrics makes me skeptical that behind-the-scenes progress on rebuilding is really happening. Sarles' basic public argument is not, "the current declines in reliability and ridership will pay dividends in the future." Instead, it seems to be, "There have not been declines in reliability and ridership." That seems more like denial than "the long game," but I still hope you're right.

New rail cars will help, for sure. But, nobody will care how nice the car is if we still have 30-minute headways every weekend for track work. I also imagine that the "long game" might not end soon enough. Even if Metro is more reliable in the future, will the former riders come back?

One other thing: Are you telling me that you really believe Silver Line Phase II will be running passenger service in five years? Does anyone else actually believe that?

by Jimmy on Apr 25, 2014 10:49 am • linkreport

What? This makes no sense. In 2016 flights will require a compliant ID, but you can still use your non-compliant ID because the city has given other people compliant IDs? What?

+1.

That said, my guess is that the planned 2016 timeline for TSA will get pushed back significantly. Louisiana just this week passed a bill that would *allow* the state to issue REAL IDs - their law previously prohibited it (concerns the REAL ID was too invasive). When half the country starts showing up at airports with IDs that aren't going to be accepted by TSA, TSA will have no choice but to delay implementation.

by ah on Apr 25, 2014 10:51 am • linkreport

@ah - I think you nailed it. It's a variation of "If you owe me $1,000 and can't pay, that's your problem. If two million people owe me $1,000 and can't pay, that's my problem."

by Jimmy on Apr 25, 2014 10:54 am • linkreport

@Jasper, I'm ok with calling CM a full time job. Does that mean we can end the practice of allowing them to work a second job?

by dcmike on Apr 25, 2014 11:08 am • linkreport

When half the country starts showing up at airports with IDs that aren't going to be accepted by TSA, TSA will have no choice but to delay implementation.

The total population with REALIDs isn't what TSA is concerned with, it's the number of people who fly who have REALIDs. In 2016 they will have to look at the % of people flying from states that do not have REALIDs, lot of people have passports. So for instance even if Texas or CA havent implemented, a large portion of their population could still board flights by using their passport cards they use to drive to mexico.

Really it would be very easy for TSA to get what it wants if they just applied a small stick. Say they will require REALIDs in 2020 but that anyone using a non REALID user will be selected for additional screening at the airport after 2015. Making people wait in line longer will put political pressure on the states to adopt REALIDs and get people who want to fly either get a passport card or renew their licence.

by Richard on Apr 25, 2014 11:09 am • linkreport

@Jimmy, the completion date for the primary construction contract for Silver Line Phase 2 is July, 2018. Even if there is a 6 month delay like in Phase 1, Phase 2 would still be completed by end of 2018. Which is < 5 years away. Phase 2 is being built by a different contractor and after the issues with Phase 1, I expect steps are being taken to avoid the problems they ran into with Ph 1. Meanwhile, it looks like Phase 1 will start service in late July or August.

With regards to the Metro system as a whole, they have gotten better at reducing the disruptions from the weekend track work and keeping the system functional enough to use it on weekends. There is a long lag between starting up on a big repair push and seeing the benefits. Once the new 7000 cars enter service in large numbers, many of the station upgrades are done, and the track work improvements get caught up, system reliability will improve. Unfortunately, that may take several more years.

by AlanF on Apr 25, 2014 11:17 am • linkreport

@ dcmike:Does that mean we can end the practice of allowing them to work a second job?

That's the whole point. CMs should not be distracted by a second job. Furthermore, having a second job is just a massive invitation for conflicts of interest and corruption.

Being a CM is a serious job. Washingtonians deserve the full and uninterrupted attention from their CM.

[And that goes for VA State Delegates and Senators as well]

by Jasper on Apr 25, 2014 11:30 am • linkreport

Va. lawmakers get about $18k a year and only work a few weeks during the year on legislation.

Now, there's lots of good reasons to expand Va's legislative session (and increase pay along with it) because it's absurdly short. But I'm not so convinced that there is a need for it to be full time all the time.

This seems to be a good breakdown, but with what I know about Va. then it's on the border between blue/white legislatures.

http://www.ncsl.org/research/about-state-legislatures/full-and-part-time-legislatures.aspx

by drumz on Apr 25, 2014 11:43 am • linkreport

The Red Line sees more problems because not only is it the oldest section of track, but it's also home to the oldest fleets. The 4000s and half of the 1000s are serviced primarily out of Shady Grove Yard so they spend most of ther time on the Red Line.

But a larger problem (and nearly all transit agencies are facing this) is a lack of qualified people to maintain the rolling stock. I've discussed this here before but what's happened is Metro for years has been unable to recruit skilled technical people to fix the trains. It got so bad that in 2012 they completely eliminated all preemployment testing so they could get warm bodies in the door. Expect things to get worse before they get any better.

The underlying issue is pay. Rail car electricians make about $28. That is not a living wage for a family in this area. WMATA will never attract the highly skilled electricians needed because they are instead taking jobs as industrial or aviation electricians where earning potential is closer to $50/hr. Meanwhile, less skilled elevator mechanics at WMATA are making $42/hr which makes no sense.

by dcmike on Apr 25, 2014 11:46 am • linkreport

$28 an hour (likely with generous benefits and plenty of overtime opportunity) isn't a livable wage? That's $58,000 per year. It's not fabulous, but it's certainly livable. And if it's a two income household, yeah, you can raise a family on it.

aside: jesus, escalator mechanics made $87,000 a year? No wonder fares are so high.

by Birdie on Apr 25, 2014 11:55 am • linkreport

@birdie, $58,000 is livable but not comfortably. And you're certainly not buying any property in DC, which means you'll also need a car despite having the benefit of free rides on the Metro.

by dcmike on Apr 25, 2014 12:05 pm • linkreport

Whenever I read about Metro's supposed or proposed "improvements" I just think about the Dupont South escalator. It was installed less than two years ago and is still out of service on a regular basis. I have no confidence in the current leadership or staff's ability to do much of anything right, and given that they're not about to change soon neither is my opinion. They'll probably put in a bunch of "fixes" on the Red Line, and a month later it will be just a broken as before.

by Joe on Apr 25, 2014 12:10 pm • linkreport

$28 an hour (likely with generous benefits and plenty of overtime opportunity) isn't a livable wage? That's $58,000 per year. It's not fabulous, but it's certainly livable. And if it's a two income household, yeah, you can raise a family on it.

It's more than I make and I support one adult person on it with absolutely no problems. I pay a high Old Town Alexandria rent, have all the sports channels on my cable, just bought a car, eat out constantly, and everything. On less money.

by Another Nick on Apr 25, 2014 12:17 pm • linkreport

Whether a salary that would put a family towards the low end of the middle class without a second income (and that second income for a blue collar family may not be that large, and will increase child care, transportation, food costs, etc) is "liveable" or not, is not really relevant if its the market clearing wage, which it seems to be.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2014 12:21 pm • linkreport

or less than the market clearing wage, apparently.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2014 12:22 pm • linkreport

Now, there's lots of good reasons to expand Va's legislative session (and increase pay along with it) because it's absurdly short.

If they don't get all their work done during the leg session, they can call a special session like they are for expanding Medicaid. However, it's not like there wasn't sufficient time to vote on and pass Medicaid expansion during the normal session. Republicans just didn't want to do it and leaving it to a special session allows them to tell their constituents they did everything they could to prevent.

Leg sessions are long enough. The reason Congress doesn't do things until the 11th hour isn't due to a lack of time. You could add a near infinite amount of time to the leg session and Congress still wouldn't pass anything until the 11th hour.

by Falls Church on Apr 25, 2014 12:29 pm • linkreport

I'm fine with the special sessions but I think Va's short cycle gives short shrift to bills that deserve some debate but maybe aren't as hot button as medicaid expansion or transportation.

But you're correct that if the legislature just wants to stall then they will.

by drumz on Apr 25, 2014 12:34 pm • linkreport

I live in Silver Spring. My line is red, but it is not the line that ACT appears to know.

For years the eastern red line has had abysmal service on weekends. More weekends than not are filled with delays and disruptions on the eastern red line. It has gotten me to embrace buses. The 1, 18, S4, and J2 are no stranger to me. It is significantly less of a hassle to ride the bus. At least next bus is mostly reliable. Good luck finding an accurate PIDS screen on the weekend eastern red line. Good luck not holding for twenty minutes while an opposing train clears the single tracking area. I am so thankful for buses.

ACT is supposed to speak for us all. Shame on ACT for getting a terrible quote in this article. It is great the western red line is wonderful, but the red line goes beyond the Rockville Pike corridor. The western trunk might not be great for much longer too. I can't wait for WMATA to declare how they will fix the western trunk water leakage issues. Six month closure ballooning to one year, anyone? I completely agree with the county. WMATA has done a terrible disservice to riders of the eastern red line, and may be about to the same to the western red line.

That all said, weekday rush hour service to Silver Spring is just fine. It is the last station with full service on the eastern trunk. Either this company used WMATA as a scapegoat, or the article really meant Wheaton. Poor Wheaton doesn't have the best service, but there are grand plans. I hope for the future of Wheaton that Maryland ponies up the money to take every red line train to Glenmont. It will do wonders for Wheaton.

by Murn on Apr 25, 2014 12:38 pm • linkreport

Things the DC Council Needs:
1. More members
2. Committee Staff (rather than members' staff working committees & shifting with members)
3. No more outside jobs

I could see salaries being reduced if more members were on the council, but if you're going to get rid of outside jobs you have to keep the salary at something reasonable. Though just about the only people on the council are people with plenty of money anyway, maybe a higher or lower salary makes no difference.

by MLD on Apr 25, 2014 12:38 pm • linkreport

Falls church

We've had instances where bike safety bills did not get through comm in Richmond because legislators had overlapping comm meetings, and there was not time. The short sessions have real costs.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2014 12:54 pm • linkreport

I don't think DC needs more council members at the moment, but I could see them adding some mechanism to say cap the number of people in a Ward at 80,0000 or whatever at which point they would have to redistrict to add a new one and a CM. IE if the Census said DC had 650000+ people in 2020 they would redistrict in a 9th ward. Maryland State senate seems to be about 1 per 100,000 people. I think the danger of adding more CMs is that they will become even more parochial and the city needs to function cooperatively.

by BTA on Apr 25, 2014 12:56 pm • linkreport

No wonder the Red Line's a mess - 58K a year is not a livable wage for living by the stops on the Red Line. These engineers should be paid better, and some WMATA bureaucrats paid less.

by asffa on Apr 25, 2014 12:59 pm • linkreport

$58k is also more than NYC's subway operators make.

Also more than what most freight railroad engineers make, with far, far harder workloads and lifestyles.

by Another Nick on Apr 25, 2014 1:04 pm • linkreport

Yeah, seriously, @Another Nick. And I've got high rent in Old Town, too.

What on earth. I had no idea I was scraping by on barely a living wage (until recently--now I guess I've graduated to "low income" by these standards). Where do all of you people work that ~$60K is so small and so remote from your own experiece that you can't imagine living on it?

That perception of income and livability is positively shocking to me.

by Catherine on Apr 25, 2014 1:04 pm • linkreport

I think the training required to be an electrician is a good bit more than to be a subway operator. as for RR engineers, I am pretty sure thats incorrect.

Catherine

We are talking about skilled blue collar workers, who have done an apprenticeship, and are paid about as much as any blue collar workers. and this is probably the top pay they will earn, and what they will support their families on, its not what they are earning as single 20 somethings starting out until they reach their higher earning potential.

If its such a great deal, why don't more people become electricians and drive the wage down? Or why don't more electricians from other places move to DC?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2014 1:14 pm • linkreport

Improved transit will just bring those $58K people to our neighborhood to rob us.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 25, 2014 1:17 pm • linkreport

note dont go by BLS averages for a locomotive engineer. A line of road engineer for a class 1 RR is typically making a good bit more than that (and with excellent benefits). A yard engineer (or one working on the property of a mining company, rather than for a RR) doesnt have to travel. and of course a yard engineer at a class 1, is typically younger, and looking to move up to road job. Also road jobs will vary in how desirable they are, and as an engineer goes up in seniority they (or rather the crew they are part of) can bid for the better jobs.

Note also their training is provided (free) by the RR - they do not have to go through an apprenticeship program.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2014 1:18 pm • linkreport

@BTA

Maryland also has a lower house that has a higher ratio of representatives to population. And it is much bigger than DC.

DC only has one house so it should fall somewhere in the middle. If the council went to 20 or 30 members that would not be a bad thing.

Currently DC has one legislator per 46,000 people (2000 census population/13 councilmembers). That puts it at the high end of small states (under 1.5m population) if you average their lower and upper house representation ratios.

by MLD on Apr 25, 2014 1:19 pm • linkreport

note also the BLS figures are national.

that money goes a lot farther in the places where most RR Loco engineers work than it does in greater DC.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2014 1:20 pm • linkreport

Yeah but Maryland is a lot more expansive, DC is so dense you dont need to spread legislators around the state as much.

by BTA on Apr 25, 2014 1:21 pm • linkreport

@Tom
Improved transit will just bring those $58K people to our neighborhood to rob us.

I hope this is a joke. Even if it is, it's a bad one.

by MLD on Apr 25, 2014 1:21 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

I know who we're talking about, I come from a largely blue collar family and I'm familiar the issues of limited lifetime earning potential. My opinion on the tone of this discussion stands.

by Catherine on Apr 25, 2014 1:23 pm • linkreport

Not to mention the fact that since campaigning in DC basically boils down to meeting people and handshaking, candidates would find it easier to meet a larger percentage of people in their ward if wards were 40,000 or 25,000 people rather than 77,000.

by MLD on Apr 25, 2014 1:25 pm • linkreport

Its hard to read tone over the internet.

The policy relevant question is whether this low a wage level has an impact on hiring - apparently it does.

how we should charecterize it - liveable but not comfortable, lower middle class etc, I think depends on what we have in mind. Salary does not equate to living standard or to class. Its different taking home 58k as a single person, than with children. Its different taking home 58k and supporting a family of four with a spouse earning 50k, or one earning 25k. Either of those is different if there is a grandparent nearby who will provide free childcare. I guess its true, without knowing all the details, its impossible to actually place how the person is living. We could have a 25 YO single electrician, on the way to running a subcontracting business, and then to becoming a developer - we would have an electrician married to a successful entrepreneur. Lots of possibilities.

I was just trying to make sense of why that wage doesn't appear to lead to a stream of electricians wanting to work for WMATA.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2014 1:32 pm • linkreport

The assumption that metro's difficulties in hiring stem from insufficient pay is not necessarily correct. One possibility is that hiring processes are broken and corrupt:

Current Metro policies, The Washington Times reported Tuesday, have led to a workforce whose largest job category is 97 percent black and has only 70 white women out of 10,000 non-executive workers, and where disciplinary and pay records document that some workers get away with chronic malfeasance while others are disciplined frivolously or harassed.

Metro officials have said that 1,000 applicants are whittled to a pool of 30 candidates and even fewer hires. Yet the cream of the crop, court and Metro documents and interviews showed, is rife with convicts, drug addicts and the marginally literate, while others with college degrees or strong work ethics have documented an inability to succeed within Metro.

“I don’t think the test is rocket science,” said Jackie L. Jeter, president of the union that represents most Metro workers.

She said filling the new jobs wouldn’t be a problem. “All you have to do is look at the unemployment line. … How long it’s going to take to get to 1,000, I don’t know, but the ones they are advertising are pretty good-paying jobs.”

To explain the 1.4 percent of operators who are Hispanic and 1.5 percent who are white, Mrs. Jeter speculated that such people must not be applying.

Metro’s inexplicable backlog in processing applicants has led jurisdictions to take up the slack, prescreening them, running criminal background checks and forwarding the names in an attempt to help Metro do what it has not been able to do for itself for years, Mr. Downs, the Metro Board member said.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/27/even-with-big-salaries-metro-cant-fill-its-jobs/#ixzz2zvEXlNMF
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

by Falls Church on Apr 25, 2014 2:00 pm • linkreport

@ drumz:Now, there's lots of good reasons to expand Va's legislative session (and increase pay along with it) because it's absurdly short. But I'm not so convinced that there is a need for it to be full time all the time.

Virginia is a state with 8 million people. You do realize that's about the size of Greece, Portugal, Hungary and Sweden, right? And about twice Ireland and Croatia. All countries with full professional legislatures.

I guess it depends on what you expect of your government. Do you expect quality legislation that is properly debated and considered, or are you satisfied with a legislature that has not read the bills it votes for.

by Jasper on Apr 25, 2014 2:05 pm • linkreport

"The Washington Times reported Tuesday, have led to a workforce whose largest job category"

which Im guessing is not electricians.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2014 2:07 pm • linkreport

Virginia is a state with 8 million people. You do realize that's about the size of Greece, Portugal, Hungary and Sweden, right? And about twice Ireland and Croatia. All countries with full professional legislatures.

But much of the things those legislatures deal with are, in Virginia's case, done by our federal legislature. Virginia's legislature doesn't have to set national (or state) policy on a whole host of issues.

by MLD on Apr 25, 2014 2:31 pm • linkreport

I thought I was clear that while I think the session should be expanded I'm not so certain that the workload necessitates the commitment you're asking for.

by drumz on Apr 25, 2014 2:34 pm • linkreport

The largest category is bus drivers and train operators which numbers around 10,000. While the WaTimes didn't do a similar analysis of other job categories, the implication in their articles and anecdotal evidence points to similar hiring practice issues in other unionized job categories.

The motivation for slow hiring is to maintain the absurdly high rates of overtime for employees, particularly in their final three years of employment which define their retirement pension.

by Falls Church on Apr 25, 2014 2:39 pm • linkreport

Also, in the quoted texts I combined paragraphs non-sequentually so it may not be clear that the hiring process that results in a handful of hires being made from a pool of 1000 applicants doesn't just apply to operators.

by Falls Church on Apr 25, 2014 2:46 pm • linkreport

Virginia's legislature has far less responsibility and power than a national legislature of a similar sized country.

by Falls Church on Apr 25, 2014 2:48 pm • linkreport

Bike safety opponents face the same overlapping committee challenges as the proponents. I don't know that a longer session would result in more legislation that you agree with.

I also don't think that debate has much of an impact on how legislators vote. They vote based on politics, not the merits of the arguments. They're politicians, not judges.

by Falls Church on Apr 25, 2014 2:55 pm • linkreport

Falls church

The point is not that a longer session would favor one side or the other (though in that particular case the bill lost because of that) but that overlapping comm's means bills are not voted on by the full comm, even when full comm members really want to be there. It simply isnt good governance. I want the bills I support to win on their merits (and yes, politics, which is to say democractic support) not on the fact that we get lucky on comm overlaps one year.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2014 3:01 pm • linkreport

Plus more time could mean more time to negotiate amendments or deals to get things passed.

by drumz on Apr 25, 2014 3:09 pm • linkreport

Rather than having to vote on what's in front of you. Maybe that cuts down on "politics" but sometimes that's whats needed.

by drumz on Apr 25, 2014 3:10 pm • linkreport

Its not simply a matter of salaries, its what you have the people do. For example, if we paid more for elec. engineering and got better equipment, maybe we'd need less people and therefore less overall expense. Similarly, you might be saving money with the old cars, but the reliability is killing us.

by SJE on Apr 25, 2014 4:50 pm • linkreport

Making it more difficult for Metro workers to make a living is an old saw here and elsewhere. The management of the system, whom I'm sure are well compensated and the Board members are a bigger problem. Metro management let maintenance go undone and "deferred" for years. Metro management has terrible communication with the public.

MoCo seems to have taken a rather cowardly tact here. I'm guessing that the unnamed tenant had other reasons to backout, like the transit center problems or if, they were retail, the struggling status of DYSS which itself is oriented away from Metro. That AFI moved much of its documentary festival downtown last years says a lot about SS's hold on signature businesses and that has nothing to do with Metro.

by Rich on Apr 25, 2014 6:08 pm • linkreport

WMATA needs whoever is responsible for public relations or information to stop with the misleading information about arrivals.
You should be able to check WMATA to know what's happening, all day. But it doesn't inform people well at all. Passengers want to know when the next train will be arriving and what is causing the backup, and to hear immediately about delays, not just having "single tracking" being declared an hour and a half too late for people to make plans and avoid dangerous crowding on the platforms.
Things happen - not telling anyone is bad in this circumstance. Passengers get more reliable real-time information off unofficial twitter feeds than they do WMATA. Someone isn't doing their job properly!
And when WMATA is planning to unload certain trains early to get more passengers out from a stadium or game, they need to be changing the destination name on the trains so people don't get on the wrong ones and have to unload and wait to get on a different one. Please change the signs. Keep the public informed.

At no point should "single tracking" on a line mean that Metro's last trains from a location run away 20 minutes sooner, leaving people abandoned who were looking at the posted train schedules to determine whether they could use them to get home. Running the last train out before schedule? That's just wrong. If there's a 20 minute overrun for last train because WMATA, that's preferable & part of doing business, not "hey, we had problems with our train earlier, and so we quit early"

by asffa on Apr 25, 2014 6:25 pm • linkreport


Who wants to take bets on when the first Silver line train will be single tracking in Tysons? I’m going for November or December

$58,000 is certainly a livable wage here’s the damn problem don’t live within their means. You don’t need a McMansion or a 5 bedroom house if there are only 2 or 3 people, you don’t need to eat out, a cell phone, take vacations, cable, internet, expensive clothing/jewelry/add-ons. What you do need is housing, food, and clothing, a way to get around which can be car or public transit and cash for bills and maybe extra spending cash for emergencies.

Unless you have a $10,000 or 20,000 medical bill you can certainly live on $58,000

@dcmike
That is not exactly true; yes some parts of the Red Line are old but other parts opened after the Blue & Orange Lines so there is no excuse with it being old.

@asffa
I have a better idea anyone that does the twitter feeds, website updates, controls the Pids should be fucking fired I use to manage a website for a major international company and was pretty much on call all hours the business was open. WMATA twitter feeds and website updates concerning bus and rail delays stop at like 9pm but the system is open atleast a good 5 to 6 hours later that is bad management.

Those last trains leaving early that shit should stop WMATA should take fault for that and they should just run the last trains later there is no excuse. The last trains already wait like 15 minutes at Metro Center whats another 20 minutes or just run buses for instead of a train for the last run.

by kk on Apr 26, 2014 1:14 pm • linkreport

@ MLD:But much of the things those legislatures deal with are, in Virginia's case, done by our federal legislature. Virginia's legislature doesn't have to set national (or state) policy on a whole host of issues.

Off course unlike EU countries, which have absolutely nothing decided for them in Brussels.

by Jasper on Apr 26, 2014 2:58 pm • linkreport

Then I blame Grant since he's responsible for keeping Richmond a state capital rather the national capital it could have been.

by Drumz on Apr 26, 2014 11:29 pm • linkreport

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