Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Metro and WMATA

The Post runs an op-ed by Doug Feaver keyed to the Metro accident two days ago, decrying the fact Metro doesn't have dedicated funding:
"That Metro exists is a small miracle. Its construction required the legislatures of Maryland and Virginia, the D.C. Council and the U.S. Congress to agree on the same word-for-word, comma-for-comma enabling language. That nailed down the construction agreements.

Construction is fun and politicians love it. Running and maintaining something, however, is hard work, and it is much less visible to constituents, until something goes wrong. As Ted Lutz, Metro's former general manager (and later a Washington Post Co. vice president) once told me, "You never saw a politician cut a ribbon at an asphalt overlay project."

That fits two of my hobbyhorses: the weakness of our governmental structure, as in the extraordinary exertions and leadership needed to create WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority), and the parochial nature of politics.

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