Greater Greater Washington

We can't let Governor O'Malley sabotage Metro

The press has been thoroughly covering the impact of interim WMATA GM Richard Sarles' proposed modified FY2011 operating budget, which has significant and immediate impacts on riders, but the much more important story from yesterday's Board meeting is how the O'Malley Administration kneecapped prospects for repairing Metro's aging infrastructure.


Photo by chesbayprogram.

To almost everyone's surprise, the 5-year capital program discussed yesterday suddenly had $460 million less for the next five years than previously planned. Board members and jurisdictional staff alike have confirmed what we pretty much knew: this is all coming from Maryland.

DC and Virginia are prepared to contribute their share of capital improvements necessary to replace aging and potentially unsafe railcars, fix elevators and escalators, upgrade power systems to accommodate 8-car trains, replace buses, and more.

However, because the O'Malley Administration decided they don't want to contribute, WMATA has scaled back the expectations from all three jurisdictions. DC's Jim Graham said, "DC is going to get a windfall that we don't want."

WMATA has identified over $11 billion in capital needs for repairs and upgrades to maintain the current system over the next 10 years. The new plan only funds about $4 billion for the first 5 years, leaving $7 billion for the second half of the decade. It's very unlikely that after making much lower commitments, area governments will suddenly be able to dramatically scale up their contributions.

On Wednesday, Congress held a hearing on WMATA safety; if I'd known about this in time, I would have told the committee that the biggest threat to the safety of federal workers right now is the bad fiscal management and poor priorities of the O'Malley Administration. Hopefully no more people will die because of obsolete railcars, failing track signals, or crowded platforms because of Governor O'Malley.

As Craig explained yesterday, WMATA staff also presented three options for renewing the Metro Matters agreement, all of which are much worse than the current agreement, dropping the long-term commitments for capital funding that has helped Metro make much more progress on repairs than it could before. DC and Virginia were prepared to renew that agreement with only minor changes; the O'Malley Administration has sabotaged that as well.

It's disappointing that WMATA staff just went along with this. They didn't raise the alarm to the Board, saying that the capital program was being compromised; they just went and trimmed the program. When questioned, interim GM Richard Sarles agreed that WMATA needs the money, but said that they are working from what's available. Clearly frustrated, Arlington's Chris Zimmerman said "The money is never there, you have to go get it."

When Sarles came in, there was much hope that he could make the tough decisions since he wouldn't be afraid to lose his job. Maybe he still will internally, but he doesn't seem willing to push back against the "race to the bottom" situation where the cheapest jurisdiction dictates the quality of transit service for its own residents and the rest of the region.

It's also disappointing that Board Chairman Peter Benjamin has been pushing this plan to sacrifice safety, and doing so in secret. There weren't any public hearings on the capital budget. In fact, Maryland kept secret the fact that they had requested to defer some FY2010 capital payments for months, and WMATA staff were complicit in keeping quiet. While Benjamin was loudly pronouncing that taking money from capital was "mortgaging our future," on behalf of the O'Malley Administration he was simultaneously telling WMATA that Maryland wouldn't make its payments.

The WMATA Board should not permit this utter capitulation. We know why Maryland is in trouble: they mortgaged their transportation solvency to build the ICC and widen I-95. Now they want to put the pain of these choices on everyone who wasn't contributing to traffic by riding transit, and everyone who doesn't even live in Maryland.

The Maryland legislature passed a bill to form a committee to recommend long-term transportation funding solutions, to report back after the election. If Governor O'Malley and other state leaders don't want to make the tough calls now, they should do the same thing they did for the road projects: borrow the money themselves, instead of making WMATA do it, and pay that money back with the funds raised if the Legislature can pass a fix next year.

The three jurisdictions can still renew the Metro Matters agreement as is, with direct contributions from DC and Virginia as they are prepared to do, and borrowing from Maryland that is a state obligation rather than a WMATA obligation. If Governor O'Malley isn't willing to do this, voters should seriously question whether he's capably leading the State of Maryland or not.

David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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While I am always happy to crap on anybody not paying their fair share, I'd like to see some credible calls from bobos calling on MD to pay up.

It's all fine that we are very upset about this here, but that won't do much. We need to get Fenty and McDonnell call on O'Malley to not destroy WMATA. Or just the County Executives from Arlington, Fairfax and Alexandria. Not exasperated quotes like: "You have to go get it." and "DC is going to get a windfall that we don't want."

Those press statements are just show. Come on Zimmerman, write a letter on behalf of Arlington to Annapolis. Graham, force DC to do the same. Tell O'Malley that he is irresponsible and needs to pay up. Even better, play is through Members of Congress. Have Warner and Webb call Cardin and Mikulski asking the WFT's up with their governor. Put some real pressure on that man. Remind them that MD's economy stands and falls with the DC economy and hence with the DC infrastructure.

by Jasper on Apr 23, 2010 11:51 am • linkreport

First, I don't think the line of credit option is necessarily a bad one. Giving WMATA a billion dollar LOC would enable some serious capital investments decisions to be made. I think there are some serious questions on how to make the various jurisdictions pay that LOC, what are the costs of the LOC and what not the idea itself is not bad.

Second, Looking through the list of capital budget changes we are all making too big of an issue of safety. What is going to kill metro is not safety issues, but the death of a thousand cuts in terms of service, reliability, and higher fares.

Third, I'l just not that part of the problem with WMATA seems to be they don't want to grow. Cutting the money for 8 line trains and more parking garages is exactly the wrong approach. I keep emphasizing this with the idea of reduced fares for non-peak hours, but we need more riders in the system. Even with buses I don't see plans to make it grow.

by charlie on Apr 23, 2010 11:56 am • linkreport

Just suspend Metro service at all Maryland stations and stops. That will get them to pony-up the funds really fast.
Shame on Martin O'Malley.

by Matt Glazewski on Apr 23, 2010 12:09 pm • linkreport

The main issue that Washingtonians seem to forget is that just like Virginia, Maryland politics are not centered around Washington. The D.C. suburbs in Maryland and Virginia are only good as a tax base to fund projects elsewhere in the states as directed by Annapolis and Richmond.

Examples: MayorGovernor O'Malley is a Baltimore man.

In the House of Delegates only 42 of 141 members (30%) are from Montgomery or Prince George's counties. The Speaker of the House of Delegates is from Annapolis, and the house president pro tempore and the majority whip are both from Baltimore. The only saving grace in the House is majority leader Kumar Barve, who represents Rockville.

Similarly, in the Maryland State Senate, 14 of 47 members (again, 30%) represent Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The President of the Senate is from Calvert County, but disturbingly, the Senate president pro tempore, majority leader, and majority whip are all from Baltimore.

Basically, Baltimore politics rule in Annapolis. If there's no will to fund Metro, it's because nobody really cares. Adding to the problem is the strong centralization that exists in the state, with most money flowing out of state coffers, instead of allowing local jurisdictions (like in northern Virginia) expend revenue outside of the funds that come from Richmond.

That may be short-sighted, especially considering the economic benefits Metro provide to the state by allowing residents to easily commute to jobs in the District and collect all that undeserved income tax revenue. But, as long as the dollars keep flowing, Annapolis will not pay too much attention to the issue.

by Adam L on Apr 23, 2010 12:16 pm • linkreport

@charlie

The line of credit doesn't sound too bad at first glance, but there are a few problems with it.

1. You are correct that having that LoC would allow WMATA to make serious long-term plans. However, the same thing could be accomplished with another Metro Matters agreement.

2. Taking out a LoC forces WMATA to pay (in interest) for long-term funding security that jurisdictions should be providing anyway if they want a system that actually functions in 10 years.

3. Having a line of credit lets jurisdictions off the hook and puts all the risk on WMATA. Maryland or anybody else can choose to screw over WMATA again at some point in the future, and WMATA will still have to come up with the funds to pay for their loan.

by MLD on Apr 23, 2010 12:29 pm • linkreport

Adam L has it about right.

While this totally sucks, O'Malley has to somehow figure out how to fund the Red Line in Baltimore, which is DESPERATELY needed, and the Purple Line as well. That's a lot of money coming out of an already empty pot.

He's a Baltimore man, and the largest city in MD, which actually votes for him (and makes all the difference), has a public transportation system that has been half-assed since the 70s in order to fund WMATA.

by Jed on Apr 23, 2010 12:34 pm • linkreport

@MLD; good points.

Maryland is in a hole. Nothing is going to change that. I'm sure the WMATA staff are looking for a combined capital funding agreement + LOC (the third option). So I think the option isn't wait a year, see if MD can pass some new tax, and then renew an agreement; it is what size of the lending can WMATA get.

In terms of #3, also a real problem. Not a finance guy, but it does not seem that difficult to come up with a LoC tied in with binding funding guarantee (or force the states to buy insurance in case of default) that would solve some of the issues.

Long term problem is it would continue to divide WMATA for its jurisdictions which make it harder in the future to go back and ask for more money.

by charlie on Apr 23, 2010 12:36 pm • linkreport

@Adam L, I don't disagree that this sucks, but you harp on that 30 percent figure like it's some kind of injustice. PG and Montgomery counties elect 30 percent of the MD legislature because their inhabitants make up 30 percent of MD's population. That's democracy. Would you have it otherwise?

by jfruh on Apr 23, 2010 12:59 pm • linkreport

@Matt - I totally agree. Let VA and DC pay as much as they want and reward them with real capital improvements. And reduce service and repairs to all MD stops to a level that reflects Gov. O'Malley's plan.

I wonder if O'Malley noticed that he'll need to WIN the votes in the DC Metro Area...

by D on Apr 23, 2010 1:07 pm • linkreport

@jfruh, I'm not harping on the fact that there is indeed proportional representation in the Maryland legislature. That's fair. The point I was trying to make is that despite the belief that Montgomery and PG counties are wealthy behemoths that always get their way, that it's just not the case. If anything seems unfair with the legislature, however, it's that only 1 out of the 8 leadership posts in the House of Delegates and Senate is held by somebody from either Montgomery or PG. That certainly does seem unbalanced. Additionally, I do think there should be some provision to allow Montgomery and PG to raise their own funds to support Metro, like NoVA can, instead of requiring everything to flow through Annapolis. But again, that would require the Baltimore politicos to release some power, which is never going to happen.

@D, O'Malley will win the DC metro area no matter what. Both counties are heavily Democratic, and the likely challenger, Bob Ehrlich, is not exactly transit-friendly either. Until there is a serious Democratic primary challenger from the DC area, the situation is unlikely to change.

by Adam L on Apr 23, 2010 1:26 pm • linkreport

Adam L: It's not about whether O'Malley "wins" the Washington metro area. Of course he'll get more votes here. But how many more? What will the turnout be? He'll need enough votes here and in Baltimore to offset Ehrlich's strength in other regions.

by David Alpert on Apr 23, 2010 1:28 pm • linkreport

Actually, O'Malley is from Montgomery Co., and married into a powerful MD political family (the Currans).

by SJE on Apr 23, 2010 1:43 pm • linkreport

In defense of O'Malley, he has to worry about a budget crisis for all of Maryland, not just the DC metro area. He seems to have made the calculation that enough MD voters care more about the State's fiscal health than about Metro. Moreover, I don't think he's really that worried about inconveniencing DC and VA residents whose votes are not relevant in Annapolis.

Would it be possible for MD to come close to meeting its obligations through a sale of bonds? That might be one way for MD to raise funds from residents across the DC Metro area (including people who don't even use metro) without increasing the tax burden on MD residents. Heck, I don't live in MD but would buy some just to (1) improve service and (2) make some money from those T(w)erps.

by dp on Apr 23, 2010 1:48 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert, can you crosspost this on that Washington Post blog that you're a part of in order to get this issue greater exposure? Lots of people know Metro funding is in the crapper, but they might not realize that MD is mostly to blame.

by JS on Apr 23, 2010 1:52 pm • linkreport

What if we just finally give all of Delmarva to MD and end centuries of cartographical confusion, with the added benefit of giving MD a windfall tax base of profitable financial/insurance firms who can solve the budget crisis and fully fund Metro.

Done.

by Dela-Where? on Apr 23, 2010 1:56 pm • linkreport

This news isn't going to help O'Malley in MoCo this November. Ehrlich doesn't have to win MoCo to take back the Governorship. He just needs a strong showing there. Ehrlich will get trounced in PG and Baltimore as usual. MoCo is the main battleground over votes. All counties in MD except for 3 or so are already Ehrlich friendly and will have big turnout on election day due to the anger at the White House and Congress. This cynergy goes in Ehrlichs favor IMO.

Kaleel

by Kaleel on Apr 23, 2010 2:01 pm • linkreport

The problem with a line-of-credit or bonds: how do you pay them back?

by Froggie on Apr 23, 2010 2:03 pm • linkreport

@David

Sure, he'll need votes here. The thing is, though, that Baltimore politicos make the same calculation every election that the DC suburbs' distaste for Republicans is so strong that they will always vote for the Baltimore Democrat, even if he/she doesn't necessarily directly represent their issues. The high-income, highly-education residents of the area aren't the type to just sit home in an election; they're going to pick between who they believe is the lesser of two evils.

In addition, many people are okay with the "deny Metro funding until they clean up their act" talking point. I am sure O'Malley will find just enough people who do not take Metro who will agree with that.

And if he doesn't win, then Maryland ends up with... Ehrlich? Either way, it's a lose-lose for transit.

by Adam L on Apr 23, 2010 2:06 pm • linkreport

@ Adam L: Excellent explanation. We should not only blame the governor. We should also blame those 56 PG and MoCo MD legislators for not using their power more. 30% of all votes in a lot. In the Netherlands, every party (!) would sign for it in the coming elections.

I know, it's not as easy. Virginia has similar problems. But where are those statements, press releases and interviews with these legislators expressing their frustration with the governor?

by Jasper on Apr 23, 2010 2:08 pm • linkreport

Seriously, I mean think about it -- extend the Silver Line all the way from Dulles to Rehoboth? "Welcome aboard the Red Line to New Castle," and such? Yeah, dude.

by Dela-Where? on Apr 23, 2010 2:16 pm • linkreport

Jasper, the statements and negotiations are there. They're just polite and not in front of the media. Our governor has unparalleled power among governors for budgeting purposes. It would be very foolish for our state delegation to be anything other than measured in their language.

We're also not the same as Virginia. We're not looked at as a place that's good for demonization while taking all the tax money. We get a lot of investment from the state. In fact, it's approximately balanced with the Baltimore region as a whole. We actually share a lot of political power at the state level with Baltimore. The whole thing is very delecately balanced. Both delegations get that they need to hang together or we will all see the same situation in Virginia where the metropolitan regions get absolutely short-changed in favor of the rural places.

Historically, there has always been some sort of threat of a race to the bottom within the three states on the WMATA board. I'm somewhat ashamed that it's my state's turn to be the weak link.

For practical purposes, I haven't heard of any challengers for Gov. O'Malley in the primary and if you think that what O'Malley is doing to WMATA is rough, that's peanuts compared to what a second Ehrlich Administration would do given the same circumstances. Remember, Ehrlich just responded to an interview question expressing a view that the current governor did a disservice to the state by freezing tuition (by increasing state contributions) at Maryland state-funded colleges. This is also the same guy who tried to kill the Purple Line by pushing the ICC. This is the same guy who wouldn't even give any lip service to intra-regional rail expansion in Baltimore at all. He would not be a friend of WMATA or anyone in the Washington region who isn't a member of a country club.

We're stuck with working with O'Malley for better or worse. He's not a bad governor overall, despite the current very frustrating and short-sighted choices on WMATA funding. There are too many issues other than WMATA in the state at stake. I get the impression that Mr. O'Malley is trying to balance a lot of priorities in an election year. I am not happy that his administration appears to be stiffing our region on WMATA.

by Cavan on Apr 23, 2010 3:30 pm • linkreport

I know everyone here knows this, but part of the problem is that so much of Maryland's transportation funding is going to a certain highway project in the DC burbs. Of course O'Malley is to blame for this, but you can't really blame Baltimore politicos for wanting more for their own area. I really do wonder whether the ICC will be an issue in the election. It would be really funny - but not all that surprising - to see Ehrhich slam O'Malley about the ICC.

by kinverson on Apr 23, 2010 5:22 pm • linkreport

I am reading all of the responses and I get to the Conclusion that: Virginia wants to Continue the legacy of ROBBING Maryland of Transit and Highway Funding and now they are using a another trick by false characterizing O'Malley as the Bad Guy with a deeper trick to make sure that Ehrlich loses the Election......

No one here can ever admit that Because Prince Georges County and Eastern Montgomery County have piss poor Transit Service is because Suburban Maryland Tax Payers are paying most of the Funding for Enhance Rapid Transportation for Virginia such as their LUXURY Silver Line Subway to Sprawlville aka Loudon County, VA.

Its nothing new they have pulled the same tricks on Highway Projects to by shelving off SEVERAL Highway Projects in Maryland and Myseriously successfully build and widen SEVERAL Highway projects in Virginia.....

I'd said before and I'll continue to say that Virginia has a secret vendetta to keep Maryland from mirroring Northern Virginia in highway building and widening, modernizing transit services and expansions, building extreme dense Office buildings in multiple parts of the region, and building and expanding upscale Retail shopping malls.......

And all of this has been historically been processed by Maryland anti-growth lawmakers receiving heavy endorsement from out of state such as Virginia.......

by tim on Apr 24, 2010 3:52 am • linkreport

@tim.... wow, you're a dumbass. Prince Georges County and Eastern Montgomery County have piss poor Transit Service because they choose to not develop their stations.

VA is not robbing MD of anything, they just happened to know what they were doing back when the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor was being developed. Maryland is not paying for the silver line, idiot, Virginia is taxing itself to pay for almost all of it. its also hilarious that you call NoVa sprawlsvillve when last i checked, MoCo is sprawlsville USA once you get past Rockville.

Don't blame NoVa for your own state sucking, blame your legislature and governor. Last I checked, everyone but MD was willing to pony up for WMATA...

by FU on Apr 24, 2010 4:03 am • linkreport

There are good ideas on here but you guys should also take action. Just posting it on here won't get it anywhere.

by Zac on Apr 24, 2010 6:25 am • linkreport

Maryland is not the only one who is bankrupt. VA & especially the NOVA localities are bankrupt as well. Tax revenues are down and the only way many of them like Alexandria can maintain their share is to raise taxes. Raise taxes on people who are taxed enough already.

One problem is Metro has been so poorly run by the local Governments over the years and over subsidized to the current tune of $.80 a mile. So on my 9 mile journey each day, the local Governments are subsidizing $7.20 of my $2.85 fare.

It is time to raise the point that in order for the Metro system to be successful, that the only way out is to privatize it. More money is NOT the answer. But throwing money at a problem is all liberals know how to do. I and many others would be in favor of nearly doubling the fare on Metrorail to help offset the local Governments contribution.

What I don't get is that the majority of riders during the week are Federal Government employees, so why does the Federal Government pay less than the local Governments?

by LeeHinAlexandria on Apr 24, 2010 7:46 am • linkreport

Lee: throwing money at a problem isn't just limited to the liberals. BOTH political parties are equally guilty of it. The only real difference is that the Dems want to pay now (i.e. higher taxes) while the Repubs want to pay later (i.e. bond it/increase the debt, pushing the actual paying of it to later).

by Froggie on Apr 24, 2010 11:09 am • linkreport

@Zac: There's a lot more action going than just what's on the blog. There's Transit First, the Riders Advisory Council and some other organizations, which directly contact our policymakers with our recommendations. So it's not just words on a screen, there's more behind it.

by Michael Perkins on Apr 24, 2010 11:55 am • linkreport

@Zac (and in addition to Michael Perkin's comment), there's the "Fair Share" campaign:
http://fairshareformetro.com/

and the Sierra Club's Sustainable Metro DC Campaign:
http://www.sierraclub.org/dc/sprawl/index.html

Plus local groups like Transit Riders United of Greenbelt:
http://trugee.grouply.com/members

Etc., Etc. There are many ways to get involved.

by Penny Everline on Apr 24, 2010 5:27 pm • linkreport

FU- @tim.... wow, you're a dumbass. Prince Georges County and Eastern Montgomery County have piss poor Transit Service because they choose to not develop their stations.

re... NO NO NO Smartass. Eastern Montgomery County and PG County have piss poor transit because te financial revenue is not Shared into those regions unlike NOVA, Western MoCo, and DC... The REAL Reason why there is little to NO Development around Metro Stations in Eastern MoCo and most of PG County is due to anti-Growth Discriminating Policies like Building Height Restrictions, NIMBY'ism, Extremely High property tax rates, anti-Big Box retail regulations, and special interest groups preventing Dence office growth to match the fast growing office growth in Fairfax County and Loudon Cunty, and special interest groups trying to Sabatoge Maryland from building and widening highways.......

FU- VA is not robbing MD of anything, they just happened to know what they were doing back when the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor was being developed. Maryland is not paying for the silver line, idiot, Virginia is taxing itself to pay for almost all of it. its also hilarious that you call NoVa sprawlsvillve when last i checked, MoCo is sprawlsville USA once you get past Rockville.

re... I detect alot of hate towards Maryland in that paragraph so I will not address it......

FU- Don't blame NoVa for your own state sucking, blame your legislature and governor. Last I checked, everyone but MD was willing to pony up for WMATA...

re... MD has always paid its share for WMATA for lackluster unreliable services while your state of VA continues to be spoiled with SEVERAL Transit Commuting Options which Operates 18-20 hours a Day and 7 Days a Week BTW of being spoiled with building Several Highway and Widening Highway projects to make way for more MASS Developing Growth in Fairfax, Prince William, Loudon, Falquer, Stafford, and Spottsylvania Counties.........

Again your attitude response is further proving my point......

by tim on Apr 24, 2010 8:51 pm • linkreport

Ummm...

A sudden windfall for the DC budget?

A desire to apply it to mass transit systems?

What would it take to get DDOT shovel ready on the streetcar tracks outside of the L'Enfant City?

by Squalish on Apr 24, 2010 9:53 pm • linkreport

David:

This is good story, thanks for writing it! I'm afraid, though, if Ehrlich gets elected again, we can definitely kiss this project goodbye. He couldn't even get the ICC done when he was Governor, and he plans on slashing budgets even more than O'Malley has. The money has to come from somewhere and this is one of the projects on his list. Keep up the good reporting, but try to look at the future because it might be much worse if Ehrlich comes in!

by Donald220 on Apr 25, 2010 8:48 am • linkreport

Can DC and VA sue to get the money? There is an interstate compact between the states, and there's got to be some way to enforce it.

by Amber on Apr 25, 2010 10:35 am • linkreport

I just had a thought whilst driving about this morning... what if the jurisdictions created a background license plate for WMATA, where the additional fees were sent straight to them? Or perhaps a general transit plate, with MWCOG distributing funds between all the various transit agencies in the area?

by Bossi on Apr 25, 2010 1:09 pm • linkreport

Froggle wrote:

Lee: throwing money at a problem isn't just limited to the liberals. BOTH political parties are equally guilty of it. The only real difference is that the Dems want to pay now (i.e. higher taxes) while the Repubs want to pay later (i.e. bond it/increase the debt, pushing the actual paying of it to later).
===============
What do you call raising the national debt ceiling by almost $5 trillion dollars in 432 days as Obama has done? Bush was bad but this guy is GWB on steroids. Look at TC Williams in Alexandria where I live. The liberals spent $100 million plus on a new school yet 30% of the students are truant every day. The Federal Govt says lets give the school $6 million dollars. Why?

Metro is the same way. It is a failure of the socialized transit model. The new Metro manager wants to raise fares and on the back side raise the amount of money the local Govts are putting toward Metro by $26 million dollars. If Metro can't be run correctly why should we pay more in taxes? The people are taxed enough which is why states like Maryland will have a hard time raising the money needed.

It is time to privatize Metro and get Government out of the transit business.

by LeeHinAlexandria on Apr 25, 2010 3:36 pm • linkreport

This article is absolute nonsense. O'Malley has been one of the largest proponents of mass-transit, even more so than all of the past democratic governors in the state. Maryland and DC were the first to provide dedicated funding to Metro, while Northern Virginia balked. If Virginia's funding depended on state-funding instead of local WMATA wouldn't be getting a cent from ultra-conservative Richmond.

To attack the governor like this in an election year is plain stupid. Would you rather ICC Ehrlich as governor? I'm sure he would shut down Metro if he could and kill the Red, Purple, and CCT Light Rail lines.

by King Terrapin on Apr 25, 2010 11:12 pm • linkreport

@Lee

"It is time to privatize Metro and get Government out of the transit business."

Sure thing. Right after the government stops building and maintaining roads and airports.

by Adam L on Apr 26, 2010 12:08 am • linkreport

Donald220-

David:

This is good story, thanks for writing it! I'm afraid, though, if Ehrlich gets elected again, we can definitely kiss this project goodbye. He couldn't even get the ICC done when he was Governor, and he plans on slashing budgets even more than O'Malley has. The money has to come from somewhere and this is one of the projects on his list. Keep up the good reporting, but try to look at the future because it might be much worse if Ehrlich comes in!

re: Oh I get it. This is the season to make O'Malley Look bad in the technique to get the non-O'Malley supporters to stay home during the election in hopes that O'Malley will win the re-election. Then find an excuse to Slash ALL Highway Projects in Maryland by making up BS about the money is needed for Transit Service(benefiting Virginia as Always).

Something similar to this happened 12 years ago when Glendenning ran for re-election. They made up stories about him supporting Highway projects over transit p[rojects then after re-election e showed his true colors and slased ALL Highway Projects and made it look like he was using the Highway money to fund Transit Projects(which mostly benefited Virginia and Virginia businesses).

The same trick can not happen twice.....

People learn from past mistakes........

by tim on Apr 26, 2010 12:41 am • linkreport

Amber- Can DC and VA sue to get the money? There is an interstate compact between the states, and there's got to be some way to enforce it.

re: Sure just as long as MD can sue the wind out of VA if for some mysterious reason that the ICC and other MD Highway projects is not completed as promised and at the same time force a highway construction freeze in VA while the lawsuit is in process......

by tim on Apr 26, 2010 12:46 am • linkreport

King Terrapin- To attack the governor like this in an election year is plain stupid. Would you rather ICC Ehrlich as governor? I'm sure he would shut down Metro if he could and kill the Red, Purple, and CCT Light Rail lines.

re: ICC Ehrlich you say....

Another example of sneaky games that people are catching on to....

If the ICC is already in progress and the statement "ICC Ehrlich" pops up then what does that say about the hidden secret intention from O'Malley.....

The Golden Eye is watching and taking notes.......

by tim on Apr 26, 2010 12:57 am • linkreport

Adam L-

Sure thing. Right after the government stops building and maintaining roads and airports.

re: That can't happen because it will effect Virginia Highways and they are not going to like that since they always want to be on top of Maryland for Better Modernize Highways and Rapid Transit.........

by tim on Apr 26, 2010 1:01 am • linkreport

Tim, do you even think? Seriously, do YOU even know what you're talking about?

by lol on Apr 26, 2010 8:47 am • linkreport

@ lol:

I was wondering the EXACT same thing.

by King Terrapin on Apr 26, 2010 10:45 am • linkreport

lol- Tim, do you even think? Seriously, do YOU even know what you're talking about?

re: What do you not agree with????????

by tim on Apr 26, 2010 2:53 pm • linkreport

@ tim:

you do realize the government of Maryland and Virginia are totally seperate and have nothing to do with each other. Not to mention the entirely opposite political leanings.

by King Terrapin on Apr 26, 2010 3:10 pm • linkreport

@ tim: The part that I and probably most others don't understand is your stance that VA is robbing MD of transit opportunities. NoVA may have their own self-imposed taxes to fund transit in addition to the state's dollars, but I fail to understand how that affects MD at all. Also, the ICC isn't being finished right now because MD's transportation development fund is broke... again, has nothing to do with what VA is doing. Care to explain your thinking on this one?

by JS on Apr 26, 2010 3:17 pm • linkreport

Looks like Metro's business plan is to make Metro less safe rather than curb their unsustainable pension and health care benefits, fire incompetent workers and cut services that have insufficient ridership...they will hold local govts hostage to this threat to life and limb to extort more taxes. This is why it is important to privatize Metro just like transit systems were privatized before the Urban Mass Transit Act in 1964.

by LeeHinAlexandria on Apr 26, 2010 4:11 pm • linkreport

Adam L wrote:
"Sure thing. Right after the government stops building and maintaining roads and airports."
-------------
Both Madison and Jefferson argued that the federal government could not build roads. Jefferson stated that "the federal government could not go forward with these public projects without an amendment to the Constitution... because the objects now recommended are not among those enumerated in the Constitution." Truly, consider how very elemental the building of roads must have been to promoting the "general welfare" of a rural country. Yet that was not the legal role of government, according to those who wrote our Constitution.

Jefferson went on to warn posterity, "The natural progress of things is for government to gain ground and for liberty to yield."And so, by 1946, without so much as a constitutional amendment, those of good intentions enacted the Employment Act, which made it the duty of the federal government and its agencies, including the newly created Council of Economic Advisers, to use all practicable means "to promote maximum employment, production and purchasing power." In other words, we became a government of good intentions.

Today, politicians literally speak of the "rights" of people as they attempt to guarantee a certain standard of living for their constituent-subjects. Of course, most recently, the federal government took on the role of guaranteeing that Americans had a minimum standard of health care because, to the government, it was a right - however unenumerated.

Now, it would be one thing if a government could actually guarantee such standards of living, but it cannot. After all, before the Great Society was enacted to take on the War on Poverty, the government-measured poverty rate was 14 percent.The pre-Great Society federal budget (when there was private streetcars and other private transit options) was less than $130 billion. Since then, we have spent tens of trillions of dollars in good intentions and have a nearly $4 trillion budget, yet the poverty rate remains virtually the same 14 percent.

Metro, as a socialized transit model, has failed. Metro needs $12 billion dollars to get itself out of the hole its in. Now they are putting off projects and not doing a thing about hte unsustainable pension and health care benefits the union has rammed down their throats?

by LeeHinAlexandria on Apr 26, 2010 4:17 pm • linkreport

King Terrapin- @ tim:

you do realize the government of Maryland and Virginia are totally seperate and have nothing to do with each other. Not to mention the entirely opposite political leanings.

re: Right, so there is no need for Virginians bust up in here trying to Blame Maryland for their transit problems and making threats to High Jack Maryland transit because they fear that their Pet Transit Project Silver Line Subway may get delayed from getting completed on time......

by tim on Apr 27, 2010 1:50 am • linkreport

JS- @ tim: The part that I and probably most others don't understand is your stance that VA is robbing MD of transit opportunities. NoVA may have their own self-imposed taxes to fund transit in addition to the state's dollars, but I fail to understand how that affects MD at all.

re: How is your statement any different/better than Virginians trolling in here blaming Marylanders for not contributing to the funding for more transit options for Virginia and making threating remarks to Sabatoge Transit in Maryland if they don't funnel money towards Virginia....

JS- Also, the ICC isn't being finished right now because MD's transportation development fund is broke... again, has nothing to do with what VA is doing. Care to explain your thinking on this one?

re: What are you talking about???? The ICC is on schedule and it is being funded by the FEDS.........

by tim on Apr 27, 2010 1:55 am • linkreport

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