Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
(David Schultz, WAMU) The Administration of Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell has threatened to withhold funding from Metro's budget if they don't get more authority over the transit agency's operations. This is a big problem for Metro, because it just signed a multi-billion dollar contract with Kawasaki to purchase new, badly-needed rail cars. If Metro's regional funding agreement is not in place by the contract's deadline, the transit agency could default.
That deadline is tomorrow. Metro needs to have its funding agreement in place with Virginia on board and with the FTA's approval by today so it can tell Kawasaki to move forward with the cars by close-of-business tomorrow.
This morning, in a hastily-called emergency meeting, Metro's Board of Directors approved a final version of the funding agreement after reaching an 11th hour compromise with Virginia.
I just spoke with Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton. He says the agreement Metro approved this morning had some modifications from the one they compromised on. He says Virginia's lawyers will need to sign off on these modifications before the state can agree. When and only when that happens, the agreement can then go to the FTA for its final approval.
Keep in mind, this all needs to happen before COB today or Metro is in danger of defaulting on its enormous Kawasaki contract.
We will be following this throughout the day.