Transit and rider advocates want to be represented on Metro task force

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 12, 2010

Transit advocates Friday protested their lack of representation on a joint task force set up by the Greater Washington Board of Trade and Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments to review Metro's governance structure.

A group of transit and rider advocates wrote a letter to the task force, which held its first meeting Friday morning behind closed doors, voicing concern that the composition of the task force made it less responsive to public input.

"We are disappointed by your decision to not include transit rider advocates on the WMATA Governance Commission," said the letter from Ben Ross of the Action Committee for Transit; Stewart Schwartz of the Coalition for Smarter Growth; David Alpert, a member of Metro's Riders' Advisory Council and of Greater Greater Washington; and Roger Diedrich of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club.

The group said it is concerned that the task force is predisposed to an agenda that would make Metro less accountable by "stripping the authority from local elected officials in our region" to govern Metro and instead giving the chief executives of Virginia, Maryland and the District the authority to appoint Metro's board of directors.

"There is a lot at stake here, and therefore we think it should be a very open and public process," Schwartz said in an interview.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company