Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Metro: Slouching toward respectability?

Just realized how long it's been since I posted about Metro, which is weird, because that's one of the things I was most excited to kvetch about when I started this blog. Because when you're like me, and you ride the train 30 minutes each way, twice a day, five days a week, fifty weeks a year, and the system is slowly growing outmoded and overmatched before your eyes, there's plenty to say. But now, Ima show some love. There seem to be fewer delays lately, more capital improvements (as opposed to the simple entropy of continuous upkeep), and a stronger feeling of common sense and responsiveness. (More federal money could be on the way, too, even though detractors say it's pork.)

It's no coincidence that this happened just after a monstrous string of bad publicity, the subsequent ouster of chairman
Richard White (who apparently didn't even ride Metro regularly), and the appointment of interim head Dan Tangherlini, who is only 38 and headed the DC Department of Transportation before this. I encountered him once or twice back in my reporter days. The guy really cares, and has charisma. How many other transportation officials - at any level, anywhere - can you say that about?

Anyway, they're now searching for a permanent head - Tangherlini applied, but
regional politicians are bickering about him. Can you believe it? Maryland and Northern Virginia bickering? I swear, if Maryland passed a resolution saying the sky was blue, within hours Virginia would be demanding more evidence. And vice versa. In any case, here's hoping they think clearly for a change and do the right thing. I think the future of Metro - and of the region - is "riding" on it. Yes!

- Washington Post

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