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Connolly Rips Metro’s Lax ‘Culture of Safety’

by Karen Goff June 16, 2015 at 4:30 pm 11 Comments

Rep. Gerry ConnollyRep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va. 11) says Metro “continues to lack a top-to-bottom culture of safety.”

Connolly’s remarks came at a briefing Tuesday of the DC-area House and Senate members by Federal Transit Administration (FTA) officials on its Safety Management Inspection of Metro.

“This FTA safety inspection confirms what many of us have feared, that Metro continues to lack a top-to-bottom culture of safety,” said Connolly. “It’s time for the Metro Board to bring on new leadership to get the system back on track. Restoring rider confidence in the system will require tougher oversight and new resources from all partners at the local, state, federal levels.”

The briefing was in response to the January incident at L’Enfant station, where one woman died and 84 passengers were hospitalized after their train car and the Metro tunnel filled with smoke. The FTA will release a report on the incident on Wednesday.

Said Connolly: “Sadly the FTA is just the latest oversight agency to cite concerns with Metro’s emergency management, training protocols, and maintenance backlog. It’s long past time that Metro makes safety its top priority.”

Sens. Warner  (D-Va.) and Kaine (D-Va.) said at the hearing Metro needs a turnaround specialist as its next general manager. Metro GM Richard Sarles left the agency in 2014.

“Unless Congress is willing to pass a long-term transportation bill, aging infrastructure and inadequate funding will keep causing transit challenges,” Kaine said in a Tweet.

Photo: Rep. Gerry Connolly (left) at Metro Silver Line opening in 2014.

  • Mike M

    Be angry, Gerry. That ought to make your core constituency feel good. But how about some results? We know Metro is a mess. Has been for a very, very long time.

  • Guy Montag

    Let me guess, the solution is more money so they can give more overtime to the station managers that are never anywhere to be seen. Odd that no one mentioned that as of 2012 Ninety-seven percent of the bus and train operators at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are black, with only six white women out of more than 3,000 drivers, according to Metro documents.

    But ya, a long-term funding bill will fix it
    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/26/metro-derailed-by-culture-of-complacence-incompete/#ixzz3dGEqaSi9
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

  • shagga

    Gerry, if you cared about our safety, you should start deporting your new voter base. We would like to feel safe shopping at 3pm without getting robbed.

  • MJay

    Don’t worry… Ken Plum is on the case after his one-time, one-stop ride to Tysons. He will find a Republican to blame before sponsoring some ridiculous state budget plan to throw money at the problem.

  • Reston Realist

    Wait a minute!

    Is this the same Gerry Connolly who, as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, led the so-called “funding partners agreement” scheme to force a decreasing number of Dulles Toll Road users (due to high tolls) to pay for HALF of the Silver Line’s construction cost (see image), doubling tolls in 5 years and tripling its 2009 rate in 2019–and more to come after that?

    If Rep. Connolly thought it was good enough for toll road users to pay $2.8 BILLION (plus decades of interest on bonds) for the Silver Line then, why does he now think that “It’s time for the Metro Board to bring on new leadership to get the system back on track?” Despite the churn at WMATA since 2007 when Connolly pushed for toll road users to pay for the Silver Line, it’s the same ol’ boys (& few girls) running Metrorail with the same safety, operational, and other results, including several deadly accidents, daily delays, etc.

    Just thought I’d ask.

  • Greg

    Sorry, Gerry. You lose. Too little (oversight) too late. Metro has been busted for years. Where have you been? How many have died or been harmed by your and Hudgins’ negligence?

    Billions wasted.

  • ErikKengaard

    “It’s time for the Metro Board to bring on new leadership. . . ‘
    It’s way past time for the 11th district to get competent leadership.

  • ErikKengaard

    Wonder what Connolly had to say about the hacking of OPM? Jus checked his web site – couldn’t find anything. He did issue a rather vacuous statement on June 5th. Nothing in it about hiring competent people for government agencies.

  • Mike M

    The only things that Gerry Connelly can “rip” with effect:
    – His jeans
    – A bag of potato chips
    – Let’s just say the last one affects the room he is in but only for a little while

    • UStifosi .

      Metro and Gerry….both bloated

      • cRAzy

        …and gassy.

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