U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx rides a Silver Line Metro train with WMATA’s Interim General Manager Jack Requa (left) and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) right on their way to a May 8, 2015 event at the Wiehle Avenue Metro stop. (Lori Aratani — The Washington Post)

 

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx believes Metro is plagued with “urgent safety issues” and has called a private meeting with the region’s three top elected officials Tuesday to discuss them.

In a letter that was sent to D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Virginia Gov.Terry McAuliffe (D), Foxx expressed his “very real concern for the safety and governance of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).”

“Put simply, WMATA has not provided the level of safety that its riders and employees need and deserve,” Foxx said in seeking a meeting with the three leaders.

His request for discussions came after a report from the Federal Transit Administration identified critical steps that Metro should take to ensure the safety of passengers on the subway and the Metrobus system.

He is expected to discuss a wide range of issues with the officials, including safety, financial oversight and the search for a general manager.

“In addition, FTA’s financial audits of WMATA found serious accounting deficiencies that required our Department to place WMATA on restricted draw-down status while WMA’I’A seeks to account for how money from past grants was spent,” Foxx wrote. “As if these issues were not enough, I understand that the WMATA Board of Directors is still no closer to hiring a permanent General Manager than it was 5 months ago. This situation is troubling to me, and I suspect, to you as well. The region and the Nation deserve better.”

The meeting is closed to the press.

“I ask that you bring your best thinking and be prepared to do whatever is necessary to chart a path for a stronger, safter and more accountable WMATA,” Foxx concludes in the letter.