Gov. Bob McDonnell has decided to withhold $50 million in state money for the Washington Metro system unless Virginia gets two spots on Metro’s board of directors. Jim Moran and Rep. Gerry Connolly (11th District) have condemned McDonnell’s actions, calling it “budgetary blackmail”. However, Moran and Connolly supported the Obama administration’s demand for spots for four federal appointees on the Metro board in exchange for $1.5 billion in federal funding.
Currently, Virginia’s representatives are chosen by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission. McDonnell’s rationale is simply that if the state government is going to be contributing hundreds of millions of dollars, they should at least have a say in how the money is spent. And McDonnell and transportation secretary Sean Connaughton have said they would hire a transit expert to fill the seat, not some political figure. Plus, the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, a group that is not a fan of McDonnell, is supporting the move.
Regardless of what you think of McDonnell’s move, everyone can agree on this: Either Moran and Connolly have short-term memory loss, or they are partisan hypocrites — the Metro board is made up of all Democrats, and it appears likely that Moran is condemning the move because he can’t stand the idea of a Republican appointee on the board.
Mr. Moran, Metro is in deep trouble. They are facing a massive $189 million budget hole and are skyrocketing fares to try to fill it. Playing silly and petty partisan games serves only to exacerbate the problem.