HD10 - Review of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors Membership

Executive Summary:

The 2018 Virginia General Assembly directed the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a review of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board of Directors membership provisions, whether the criteria used to determine membership eligibility serves the Commonwealth’s best interests, and whether any changes to such representation can be made without an amendment to the WMATA Compact. The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) assisted in crafting this report.

In order to comprehensively address the request made by the General Assembly, DRPT reviewed the WMATA Compact; the Review of Operating, Governance, and Financial Conditions at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority conducted by former United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood; Chapter 377 of the 2012 Virginia Acts of Assembly; Chapters 854 and 856 of the 2018 Virginia Acts of Assembly and subsequent Commonwealth Transportation Board and Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) implementation actions; and legislation enacted by the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland.

The WMATA Compact is itself silent on specific qualifications for Virginia’s membership, instead delegating the Commonwealth’s appointment authorities to the NVTC.(*1) Nonetheless, subsequent action by the 2012 and 2018 Virginia General Assemblies enacted specific requirements on the NVTC for its selection of Virginia Board membership including the Secretary of Transportation or her designee as one principal member as well as a number of technical qualifications required for all Virginia members.(*2)

The Secretary of Transportation finds that the existing statutory requirements for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s representatives to the WMATA Board of Directors sufficiently serve the best interests of the Commonwealth. Virginia WMATA Board members must have: (i) experience in at least one of the fields of transit planning, transportation planning, or land use planning; transit or transportation management or other public sector management; engineering; finance; public safety; homeland security; human resources; or the law or (ii) knowledge of the region’s transportation issues derived from working on regional transportation issues resolution.

Identical qualifications also have been enacted by the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland regarding their own WMATA Board membership provisions. Further, because the WMATA Compact delegates such authority to its member jurisdictions regarding board member qualifications, actions to change membership provisions have been and may continue to be made by their respective legislative bodies without amendment to the Compact.
(*1) Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Compact of 1966
(*2) Members of Transportation Commission