While the Joint Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA or Metro) Governance Review Task Force produced a document (“Moving Metro Forward“) for discussion of the organization structure of Metro. But the reason why the current structure is ineffective is that the people on the Metro Board do not control or govern revenue to maintain or operate the system. That responsibility is in the control of Congress, and the state legislatures Maryland and Virginia and the District of Columbia’s City Council. Because the Joint Council of Governments and the Board of Trade Task Force dismissed the critical effect of the funding situation, the document falls short on providing a way beyond the Metro’s challenges.
Other challenges facing Metro:
- Metro’s Compact is designed for constructing the system as it stands, not for operating it. The Compact is long overdue for an overhaul (perhaps the Joint WMATA Governance Review Task Force could be helpful during that activity).
- The WMATA is subject to jurisdictional budget processes (not necessarily coordinated).
The DC metropolitan area’s rail and bus system is a capital asset, requiring money to build and maintain, but also assists to produce money for the separate jurisdictions through the movement of people to the various points of destination. Despite this fact, the Metro system is left to beg for money for its capital goods and operations. This is an unacceptable situation given Metro’s contribution to the daily lives of many residents and visitors to the DC area and must be resolved.
The Republicans took control (currently 239 R 186 D) of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday. President Barack Obama called it a “shellacking” at his news conference, but in reality, the transfer of power is not that out of the ordinary historically speaking (see this PDF U.S. H.R. control (also available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/41357483/Cong-Control)).
Apparently, a good number of the losses on the Democratic side came from the so called Blue Dogs.
It is unfortunate that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) system has become a political football by those who are responsible for the system. It seems that denouncing Metro is seen as politically expedient while at the same time those same politicians refuse to provide funds that will allow Metro system to maintain and operate its capital plant.
For example, see this article about Robert McDonnell, Virginia Governor, calling for increased safety oversight for Metro. As I have mentioned before, this is a laudable and necessary goal, but it requires money (it was unmentioned whether Gov. McDonnell discussed how to pay for the oversight).
Subsidy Funding (fiscal year 2010) (Source: WMATA)
|District of Columbia
||$546.7 million (+27.5 million debt service)= $574.2 million
Passenger fares and parking fees: $702.7 million
Metro System Information
Metrobus 340 routes (breakdown by jurisdiction not available)
Metrorail stations (by state)
District of Columbia 40 (38.3 miles of track)
Maryland 26 (Montgomery County (11) and Prince George’s County (15)) (38.31 miles) [Note: The state of Maryland operates its own subway in Baltimore, Md.]
Virginia 20 (Arlington County (11), Fairfax County (6), and the City of Alexandria (3)) (29.47 miles)
The days of expecting the ridership to cover the funding shortfalls has come to an end; the jurisdictions must step forward with additional funding. Metro is an instrument that many taxpayers use to get to work or social activities all around the metropolitan area. So providing money to Metro is not really a money drain but rather an input to capital which allows for the same jurisdictions to receive an output (tax receipts).
Fair Share for Metro
According to The Washington Post, The jury in Evan Gargiulo’s trial, where he stood accused of second degree murder has determined that Mr. Gargiulo is guilty. Mr. Gargiulo was sentenced to jail for 15 years, 12 years for the murder charge and 3 years for the gun.
[Note: Persons accused of a crime in the United States are presumed innocent until proven guilty.]
The trial involving Evan Gargiulo has begun in Fairfax, Virginia.
According to The Washington Post, a psychologist, Stanton E. Samenow, testified for the defense noting that Evan Gargiulo, accused of murder, was insane at the time that the victim, Mazhar Nazir was shot. Dr. Samenow made this determination after interviewing Mr. Gargiulo for a number of hours.
Dr. Samenow stated that Mr. Gargiulo’s anger at being robbed and his fear of Mr. Nazir caused Mr. Gargiulo to shoot Mr. Mazhir, the Post reported.
Samenow said Gargiulo’s dismay at being robbed and his “enormous fear” of Nazir caused him to shoot without thinking of the consequences. “I haven’t encountered somebody with this level of fear,” Samenow said. He said there is no formal definition of Gargiulo’s mental condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the accepted reference book for courts trying to parse mental illness and criminal culpability.
A videotape of Mr. Gargiulo’s interview with the police was played at the trial.
The Arizona legislature has decided to send an initiative proposal from Ward Connerly to the Secretary of State.
The language of HCR 2019 is here. A previous move by Ward Connerly to get this proposal on the ballot through signatures failed.
It is unfortunate that a legislative item that can ill effect a portion of the population in Arizona is not fully researched and debated. Rather, it is placed on the ballot through a questionable strike all amendment process.
Arizona Secretary of State
According to the Fairfax Times, a preliminary hearing was held on February 23. Friends and family of the victim, Mazhar Nazir, attended the hearing.
The Fairfax Times did not provide details of what occurred at the hearing
The Fairfax Times reported that the case was forwarded to the grand jury (term date: March 17, 2009).
The Virginia Courts webpage, explains (under Procedure) what a preliminary hearing is.
A preliminary hearing is then held in district court to determine if there is probable cause to believe the accused has committed the crime charged. If probable cause is found, the case is certified (sent) to the grand jury.
The grand jury is a body which determines whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused committed a crime and should have a trial to determine innocence or guilt.
The Virginia Courts provide a handbook for grand jurors.
The Virginia Criminal procedure law is here.