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‘Split Loyalty’ Causes Fissure On DC Metro Board, Chairman Says It Should Be Disbanded

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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The D.C. Metro board is a squabbling mess that cannot properly function, according to the board’s chairman, who blamed the current dysfunction for the system’s woes.

Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans said the 16-member board is unwieldy and lacks a sense of urgency to fix the deteriorating transit system. Evans derided the division among board members, who he claims do not want to anger the local jurisdictions they represent. In his view, the board members fail to appreciate the bigger picture of the problems facing the struggling Metro service, reports The Washington Post.

Evans said the board should be disbanded and reformed with a smaller group that is not beholden to any of the D.C. region’s localities, although he admits it will never happen.

“Have the president of the United States appoint five people to run this, none of whom can live in Maryland, D.C. or Virginia,” Evans told The Washington Post. “How do you run an organization when you have that split loyalty, and you will always…err on the side of the jurisdiction you represent? That is what I think has caused enormous problems at Metro over the years.”

Evans is frustrated at the lack of additional funding for the Metro from Congress and localities, arguing board members are reluctant to ask their region for more money. Repairs and regular service disruptions from breakdowns have tainted the public’s view of the Metro system and pushed many customers into driving or busing into the District. Only 42 percent of Metro riders said the system is reliable in a recent survey.

Many on the board feel Evans is being an alarmist and impatient on how quickly the board can restore public trust in the system.

“Here we are in the death spiral, and everybody is acting the same way,” Evans told The Washington Post. “It just drives me nuts.”

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