Like Ben (and many of you, judging by your comments), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is also experiencing Metro relationship dysfunction. And she’s going so far as to badmouth Metro to her coworkers.
Sen. Mikulski testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs today in a hearing on the federal government’s role in overseeing public transportation systems. Mikulski, who is herself on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and a securer of federal funds for Metro, basically hung Metro, and Metro General Manager John Catoe, out to dry. And you know, all I have to say about it is… it’s about damn time.
Her full statement to the committee is available on her website, but here’s what I think is the key quote:
I am not happy about Metro management. I have no confidence in Metro. Every time you turn around or turn a page there is another problem. There is a pattern of laxity, passivity and lip service. Metro leadership wouldn’t let inspectors on the tracks. That’s when I called for a federal investigation.
It was only last week that the head of safety was reorganized out. Safety responsibilities were concentrated in one place and now they are dispersed. Once again, we are lurching around: too little, too late and all coming to Congress to testify. There are severe management difficulties at Metro. I call upon Metro’s board to take appropriate and immediate action.
I am no novice with Metro. No Janie-come-lately. Money is a factor affecting Metro…. Mr. Chairman, as you know, it is about money, but also management. We need strong management at Metro and at the federal level. I want to work with you on a legislative framework that follows the recommendations of NTSB. These aren’t my recommendations. We also need the right resources. That will make America’s Subway, and subways all across America safe, reliable and sound.