The culture that is Washington

As the Washington region begins an important effort to fix Metro's outdated, unwieldy governing apparatus, here's a way to appreciate the scale of the challenge: The task requires eight separate governmental bodies representing 12 distinct political jurisdictions to agree to rearrange how they oversee a ninth body, the transit system itself.

…If that's not daunting enough, consider that the biggest changes would require four entities – Maryland, Virginia, the District and Congress – to agree unanimously on identical wording to change the 44-year-old regional compact that created Metro.

The story is here.  


I'm just waiting for it to crumble like Chicago's system. In Chitown there are miles of broken tracks where the train crawls at just 2-3 mph. Expect it in a Metro tunnel near you.

How is this different from the power grids which are jointly operated and managed by multiple utilities and power generators and the owners of the rights of ways and power lines?

If you wanted to install a new power generation source of some significance, how long do you think it will take for the grid to be updated, even if you were able to pay for the upgrades, to get it accomplished?

I think the construction times are like a year after a decade of negotiation and planning.

Or how about dealing with the conflicts between railroads and road traffic in virtually every metro area. The railroads are restricted on the speed, time, and volume of traffic and want to change things, but need government support it gaining new right of way. Government wants on behalf of residents and businesses the railroads to both not use the rails at any time of the day (every hour) when it bothers them, and to provide better service that is more timely and more frequent and faster.

For roads vs rails, it generally takes a decade to upgrade a single important crossing, and the less important ones go for decades unless earmark legislation force faster action.

The railroads and power grids are governed no better than the Metro, and I'm sure those who suggest the government should just get out of the way and let the corporations exercise eminent domain to get the job done would protest when they came to build a few blocks away, not even on your own land.

Somehow, things done to the communities o others are fine, but not to "my community" and then every government needs to fully representing the interests of everyone in the community.

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