U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on Tuesday he has appointed an accountability officer to monitor the agency responsible for managing the construction of the multi-billion billion Silver Line rail extension — an interim step until a permanent inspector general is established by Congress.
Kimberly Moore, a career attorney with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of the General Counsel, will report directly to LaHood and will have the authority to examine operations of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s 13-member board of directors and 1,400 employees.
“MWAA’s leadership is committed to greater transparency,” LaHood said in a written statement. “The accountability officer will help further ensure that the organization’s policies and practices meet high standards of ethics and fiscal responsibility.”
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said Moore would be the “. . . eyes and ears of the secretary.”
“I think the airports authority has been out of control,” said Wolf who called for the inspector general review that turned up a number of questionable travel and entertainment expenses by members of the board of directors and contracting issues.
“We welcome Kimberly Moore and we look forward to working with her at the Airports Authority,” said Jack Potter, CEO of the MWAA.
MWAA, which also oversees the Dulles Toll Road, Dulles and Reagan National airports, also has faced criticism for plans to build an expanded $7.2 million headquarters — an initiative that was later scrapped. A full IG report on agency operations is expected this fall, Wolf said.
The airports authority has also faced questions from federal transit officials about the cost and management of the 23-mile Metrorail extension now projected to cost as much as $6.6 billion. A dispute over the inclusion of a labor-friendly provision in the second phase of the rail project threatened funding for the project. LaHood has also intervened in negotiations to ensure the rail project remains on track.
The first phase of the Silver Line project is nearing completion and officials have taken initial steps toward beginning construction of the second phase. When completed, the line will allow passengers to travel from East Falls Church to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County.
In April, Wolf proposed the establishment of a permanent inspector general to ensure independent scrutiny of MWAA’s operations.
Moore is a career attorney with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of the general counsel where she has focused on procurement and ethics issues. She has strong Virginia ties: Moore previously served as a prosecutor in the Virginia and is a graduate of the College of William and Mary School of Law.