Lawmakers add hitch to Metro safety efforts
Virginia House Republicans placed a roadblock in the path to creating a new Metro oversight body Thursday, but both GOP and Democratic leaders said there is time to reverse the move.
A House Transportation subcommittee voted along party lines for an amendment that would require Metro to weaken union protections and fix its pension deficit before the Metro Safety Commission is formed.
If sustained, the amendment would probably derail a lengthy effort in Virginia, Maryland and the District — which must all approve identical legislation — to establish the federally mandated commission or risk losing millions of dollars in federal transit aid.
The amendment’s sponsor, Del. J. Randall Minchew (RLoudoun), said the change is necessary to rein in Metro’s labor costs. Otherwise, he said, new investments ordered by the commission would add to Metro’s expenses and lead to a tax increase.
“The Metro Safety Commission is a good idea, but this is the harbinger of a tax increase, make no mistake about it,” Minchew said.