Updated, 6:05 p.m.:
Rep.Frank R. Wolf (R-Va) introduced legislation Monday to create a permanent inspector general for the Washington region’s airports authority, which is charged with overseeing the nearly $6 billion construction of Metro’s new Silver Line.
The move comes as watchdogs and politicians have expressed increasing concern about the oversight, operation and management of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).
The Transportation Department’s Inspector General has an audit underway of MWAA and is expected to release its initial findings May 15. The inspector general is looking into the contracting, governance and transparency practices of MWAA, according to Wolf’s office.
Wolf requested the inspector general’s review in February 2011.
The new inspector general position Wolf wants to create would be appointed by the Secretary of Transportation, according to a news release from Wolf’s office.
MWAA also oversees the operation of Reagan National and Dulles International airports.
Virginia politicians pushed for a bill that added two new members to the MWAA board, but only one of those members has officially been accepted to serve. The legislation would also give Maryland the District additional seats, but those positions have yet to be filled.
MWAA said it is waiting for the District to approve what it says is necessary legislation before it acts on adding new members. Several members of the board are serving beyond their terms, a concern Wolf and others have raised.
Tara Hamilton, a spokeswoman for MWAA, said: “The Airports Authority is reviewing the bill and we are anxious to meet with Congressman Wolf and his staff to discuss this legislation and other matters of concern.” She said MWAA’s chief executive and the chairman of the board are trying to “set something up as soon as possible” with Wolf.
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