The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is searching for another General Manager. Finalists from an initial search were released because of a difference of opinion of what type of General Manager (GM) WMATA should have–a “financial turnaround specialist” or a traditional transit executive. A transit executive would be preferable because (1) transit is a public service, not a profit-generating business, and (2) the system is responsible to the welfare of all human beings using or operating the system each day.
I am skeptical of any financial turnaround specialist because the true test for one was in 2008 during the United States financial crisis. None showed up (excepting the Obama Administration), and, thus, I do not expect any candidates for WMATA.
|State||Amount of Funding|
|(components are rounded; in millions of dollars)|
|FY 2010||FY 2011||FY 2012||FY 2013||FY 2014|
|District of Columbia||201.6||214.15||233.3||249.1||271.7|
|Audit adj fy 2011 and 2012||-30.5|
The difficulty with deciding to take the GM job with WMATA remains the same as specified in a previous post. Primarily, WMATA still does not have a dedicated source of revenue. It is interesting that Maryland supports a financial turnaround specialist for WMATA, yet Maryland provides funds for Baltimore’s subway and light rail system. WMATA’s unique financial and political circumstances make WMATA a challenge, one most incumbents only keep the job for about 3-4 years, excepting Richard White. Even with the challenges, there should be transit executives willing to accept the GM job, well aware of the high stakes (and potentially short-term nature) of the job.
|Passenger Fares and Parking Fees|
|(rounded; in millions of dollars)|
|FY 2010||FY 2011||FY 2012||FY 2013|
|Actual*||727.8 (6/30/10)||804.5 (6/30/11)||816.7 (6/30/12)||856.8 (6/30/13)|
|*Actual amount comes from Metro’s statement of revenues, expenses, and changes in net assets. This statement does not identify parking fee revenue; I used the total revenue amount in the table.|
The financial statements are not yet available for 2014, and the ridership numbers are estimated for 2013. However, I have updated information for WMATA as it was available at the time of this post.
|(in number of trips)|
|Source: Metro Facts.|
Interesting Background Facts (source: Metro Facts 2014)
Metrorail system age: 39
Organizational Structure of Metro (Metro Compact Article III)
[Four legislative bodies–Congress (federal government), D.C. City Council, Md. state legislature (Montgomery and Prince George’s), Va. state legislature (Arlington, Fairfax, and Alexandria) (subsidy funding)]
Board of Directors (8 members selected from each jurisdiction [federal government, District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia]) [Note: There are 8 alternates.]
Officers (General Manager, Secretary, Treasurer, Comptroller and General Counsel and such other officers as the Board may provide.)
328 routes (breakdown by jurisdiction not available)
Metrorail stations (by state)
District of Columbia: 40 (38.3 miles of track)
Maryland: 26 (Prince George’s County (15) and Montgomery County (11)) (38.31 miles) [Note: The state of Maryland operates its own subway in Baltimore, Md.]
Virginia: 25 (Arlington County (11), Fairfax County (11), and the City of Alexandria (3)) (41.47 miles)