Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe blasted the Metro Board of Governors for engaging in “goofy, naive political theater” and “yakking at the press” rather than focusing their energies on fixing the troubled transit system.
McAuliffe’s comments—made to WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” show on Nov. 30—were in response to recent statements by Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans and board member Corbett Price, who had suggested that a regionwide sales tax or other dedicated funding source was essential to keeping Metro financially healthy.
“Come to me with a comprehensive long-term plan, tell me what the cost is going to be and I will be your greatest advocate,” McAuliffe told WTOP. “But people throw out numbers—as I say, you don’t go to your legislature with half-baked plans. You can’t.”
Price previously suggested that the Silver Line running west from Tysons Corner should not be extended further because of prohibitive costs to the cash-strapped transit agency.
The dust-up reflects a growing chasm between Metro board members representing the District and those from Virginia and Maryland. Evans is a D.C. council member and Price also represents the District.
The governor and state Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne have rejected calls for Virginia to contribute additional funding to Metro, saying they first wanted to see a long-term plan to fix the system.
Speaking at a regional transportation forum in Arlington, Layne said Metro needs “calm heads, real solutions, instead of political expediency and threats.”
Meanwhile, Evans defended Corbett’s suggestion about stopping the Silver Line extension. “If you are running a core business that is failing—that’s Metro,” Evans said. “We’re losing $900 million a year—would you continue to expand that business? That’s all that Corbett is saying. That’s not an unreasonable thing to bring up.”