For more than two years, the Federal City Council (FC2) has led the regional effort to reform the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) in order to set Metro on a sustainable economic and operational path. That leadership is paying off.
Today the FC2 is closer to realizing its vision for a revitalized Metro, the result of significant reforms to WMATA’s governance, funding and operational structures. The next stage of this effort promises to transform this advocacy into legislative action.
“FC2’s position is grounded in the belief that Metro’s future relies on significant reform of WMATA,” says Ed Walter, FC2 chairman and Steers Chair in Real Estate, McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. “I am extremely encouraged by the alignment that has emerged on these critical issues and see it as clear evidence of progress that the Federal City Council has played a part in shaping.”
The FC2 first launched its reform effort in early 2016, arguing for the dissolution of WMATA’s current board and the formation of a temporary reform board, the commitment of sufficient, dedicated and bondable funding, and the implementation of efforts that would increase operational efficiency.
That effort sparked a groundswell for change in 2017. Major milestones include coordinated calls for Metro reform from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Gov. Paul Hogan and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in August; the release of the Metro reform report from former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in November; and the introduction in the U.S. House of the METRO Accountability and Reform Act by U.S. Rep Barbara Comstock, R-Va. in December.
During 2017, the FC2—working with the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the 2030 Group and the Greater Washington Partnership—also unified the regional business community behind a comprehensive reform agenda. That expanded advocacy group will launch its activities in January.
The campaign has come at a cost, though, and Walter urges FC2 trustees to financially support the effort in 2018. “Your contribution will help us to build upon the progress we have seen to date, and will move us closer to a smart, safe, sustainable Metro,” says Walter.