Greater Greater Washington this morning has an editorial that’s part of their Serious Fixes for Metro series that suggests that what Metro needs isn’t a general manager, but rather a CEO. This morning’s TBD escalator map is pretty grim, and the weekend’s transit work had a pretty good portion of my Twitter feed upset about the various repair projects that seem to be behind schedule and deeply inconveniencing.
The jurisdictional differences that Metro has built-in to their multi-state structure provide for unique challenges, and the original solution, a board of equal representation, has gotten the transit through lean but easy times. The current situation may call for more leadership than the Metro Board can provide, and may require a CEO-type figure.
The question isn’t whether or not this is a good idea, the question is whether or not the Metro Board would willingly accept that kind of change. So far, all I can think is that it’s unlikely that the jurisdictions would give up their control role in exchange for an advice-and-consent role.
What I would like to see is someone a lot like DC Water’s George Hawkins in charge over at Metro. Someone who is dynamic and engaging, and clearly invested personally in the results. WMATA needs someone who can operate within the existing framework, not someone who gets a title bump and who will be fighting with the board for control.