Study: Metro should privatize, buy foreign
The federal government should cut Metro’s costs by making it easier for the transit agency to privatize operations and to buy buses and other equipment from foreign suppliers, according to a new study by a conservative-leaning think tank.
The American Action Forum also calls for a Government Accountability Office investigation of Metro’s workforce practices, including those affecting pay, promotions and discipline. The six-page report is not as detailed as other studies offered in recent months to address Metro’s struggles with safety, reliability and finances.
But it differs from most by focusing on free-market solutions and potential actions by the federal government — rather than by the District, Maryland and Virginia.
The forum hopes to guide decisions on Metro by the Republican-controlled administration and Congress.
The forum’s proposals on labor matters seem most likely to have impact in the wide-ranging debate over how to fix Metro. By contrast, its call to weaken “Buy America” laws to encourage foreign competition is seen as a nonstarter because of political opposition in the White House and Congress. The report urges changing a law that requires any transit authority receiving federal funds to guarantee jobs to current workers if the agency is acquired by another group.