Tag: WMATA

WMATA to Slash NoVA Metrobus Service

Comments at WMATA Public Hearing in Ballston, February 24, 2020

In its latest operating budget WMATA proposes to slash bus service in Northern Virginia for a savings of $7.5 million. Affected are a dozen Arlington routes, including: 2A, 3A, 5A, 7Y, 10N, 15K, 16C, 16E, 16G, 16H, 22A, 22C.

Lower ridership accounts for the reduction or elimination of service on only about half of these lines. The rest are being cut because alternative service is available on ART or Metrorail. Thus the heavily used 5A to Dulles will be eliminated. The Pentagon to DC leg of routes into and out of Arlington will be eliminated, including service provided by 7Y, 16C, and 16E. Routes to outlying sections of Arlington and Fairfax County will be gutted entirely with no convenient alternatives available on the 3A to Annandale, the 3T to Tysons and the 15K to McLean.

These service cuts are draconian, and I say this advisedly because as a regular Metrobus patron I can vouch for the fact that a lot of buses–both Metrobus and ART—ride empty during off peak hours.

Metro should not be cutting service on those routes with sustained ridership like 5A and 16C. Metro should also not use the rationale that alternative service is available from end point to end point, when the purpose of bus service is to shuttle passengers between end points. It does no good to a 3A rider who lives on Annandale Road to know that alternative service is available on Leesburg Pike and Little River Turnpike.

If Metro wants to triage bus service in favor of extended rail service fine. Then the localities that fund Metrobus should reprogram Metro subsidies to local transit service or other priority needs.

County Board Member Dorsey Hasn’t Reported Return of Union Donation

Comments at Arlington County Board Meeting, January 25, 2020

This letter was directed on 1/18/20 to the WMATA Board Ethics Officer and/or WMATA Inspector General pursuant to WMATA Board Code of Ethics, Article XI: Other Reports of Conflicts of Interest and Suspected Ethics Violations, in the matter of WMATA’s Board’s earlier determination that Board Member Christian Dorsey had violated the code as a member of the Board.

On or about November 7, 2019, the WMATA Board sanctioned Board member Christian Dorsey for failing to report timely a $10,000 campaign contribution he received in 2019 from Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 689, which represents Metro transit workers.

The Washington Post reported Dorsey’s conflict of interest on November 7 as follows:

“Dorsey received the union donation on June 21 and reported it to Virginia authorities in accordance with state campaign finance law. It was one of the two largest contributions he received this year, the other being a $10,000 contribution from the InternationalBrotherhood of Electrical Workers.

“But he waited until Oct. 30 to report the ATU Local 689 contribution to Metro.

“The board resolution said that because of the reporting lapse, ‘Dorsey participated in several matters as a Board Member from which he should have recused himself during the period June 21, 2019 to October 30, 2019.’

“Metro Board Chair Smedberg said Dorsey had participated improperly in three “high-level briefings” on contracting matters, all held in executive session, where no board action was taken.

“’The Board reprimands Mr. Dorsey for violating the Board Code of Ethics by failing to timely disclose the Local 689 campaign contribution and failing to recuse himself from Board matters where Local 689 had an interest,’ the board resolution said.”

The minutes of the November 7, 2019 WMATA Board Meeting read in relevant part:

“The Ethics Committee determined that, despite Mr. Dorsey’s good faith disclosure and return of the $10,000 campaign contribution from Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689, he violated the Code of Ethics and should be reprimanded and removed as Chair of the Finance and Capital Committee.”

While WMATA Board minutes clearly indicate that Dorsey returned the $10,000 ATU contribution in accordance with its direction, I can find no evidence of the return of the contribution in Dorsey’s campaign finance reports available here:

As an Arlington resident who ran against Dorsey for Arlington County Board in 2019 and exposed his conflict of interest vis-a-vis ATU 689 during the campaign, I am requesting that the WMATA Board provide proof that Dorsey has indeed returned the contribution from ATU 689, as it directed him to do.

It is one thing to demand compliance with WMATA Board’s Code of Ethics. It is another to determine whether this has actually occurred. Transparency requires both.

***

Dorsey explained at the meeting that the check he wrote to return the union donation never cleared, and he can’t return the check till it does. Just the opposite. According to the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) official I spoke to “checks must be recorded when they’re written.”