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Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation

7/5/2011



Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

GAO recommends ways WMATA's board can improve governance


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The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) take steps to improve board governance by clarifying its role and regularly assessing its effectiveness, performance metrics and strategic planning processes.

The GAO issued the recommendations in response to past “safety and reliability problems, including fatal accidents,” GAO officials said in a prepared statement.

After reviewing a draft of the GAO report, WMATA officials noted actions they’ve taken to address some issues covered in the report, the GAO said.

WMATA’s board has taken several steps during the past year to improve its effectiveness, said WMATA Chairwoman Catherine Hudgins. Those steps include:
• Drafting permanent board bylaws, procedures and a self-evaluation;
• Creating a work plan that enables the public to track proposed changes in response to outside recommendations;
• Reviewing and updating the ethics code; and
• Institutionalizing the monthly “Vital Signs” report as a monitoring tool.

The board also has improved safety oversight through a stronger partnership with the Tri-State Oversight Committee, which signed a memorandum of understanding with WMATA to clarify roles and regularly report safety findings to the board, WMATA said.

The board, which recently welcomed the largest number of new members in years, “has and will continue to embrace change and advance many governance improvements that substantially strengthen our role as a regional policy and oversight organization,” Hudgins said.





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