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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 06:08 AM ET, 05/16/2012

Concerns after inspector general report on Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which oversees Reagan National and Dulles International airports as well as the construction of Metro’s new Silver Line in Northern Virginia, came in for considerable criticism Tuesday in an 18-page report from the U.S. Transportation Department’s inspector general.

Not surprisingly, given the continuing debates over MWAA and the Silver Line, there was lots of reaction to the new report.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement that he was ”confident in MWAA’s new leadership” and that he’s been assured that they “will take every step necessary to achieve greater transparency and accountability going forward.” He also said “past problems should not impact the progress we are making on the Silver Line.”

The report comes as the airports authority is expected to meet Wednesday. Many observers are watching to see if the authority will reverse its decision and remove a labor-friendly contracting incentive.

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has said he will block a $150 million contribution from the commonwealth if the incentive stays. Loudoun County has until July 4 to decide whether it will help pay for the second phase of the Silver Line.

Former Virginia governors Linwood Holton and Gerald L. Baliles and former senators John W. Warner and Sen. Charles S. Robb have written to MWAA’s chairman, Michael Curto, urging him to get the board to drop the labor friendly incentive.

The audit of MWAA was launched in June 2011 after Reps. Frank Wolf and Tom Latham asked for the inspector general to look at transparency and oversight at the quasi-public Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).

Wolf said in a statement that he was “deeply troubled” by the inspector general’s report. He called the findings about MWAA’s contracting policies “most egregious.”

The inspector general found that the projections for revenue from the Dulles Toll Road, part of which go to help pay for the new Silver Line, are “generally reasonable.”

After the inspector general’s report was released Tuesday about 30 local politicians and MWAA officials were briefed. Many had reactions. The inspector general cited the board for having inadequate financial disclosures for lacking adequate oversight over expenses and contracts.

Ken Reid, a Loudoun County supervisor (R- Leesburg), issued a statement calling the inspector general’s findings “very disturbing.”

He said the audit should be a “wake-up call” and is evidence that Loudoun shouldn’t participate in helping to bring the Silver Line into the county and that the line should end at Dulles Airport.

Loudoun supervisors have until July 4 to decide whether they are in or out in helping to pay for the second phase of the Silver Line.

Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity (R- Springfield) said in a statement that it is ”painfully evident that it has become dysfunctional as many on the current Board members are putting individual and personal agendas ahead of the needs of the airports.”

Follow me on Twitter @postmetrogirl.

By  |  06:08 AM ET, 05/16/2012

 
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