Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Letter: DCUG Questions MWAA's Transparency on Dulles Toll Road Issues, October 12, 2011

10740 Parkridge Boulevard, Suite 110
Reston, Va 20191

Phil Sunderland, Esquire
Vice President & General Counsel
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
1 Aviation Circle
Washington, DC 20001

October 12, 2011

Dear Phil:

At today's meeting of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Board of Directors regarding Congressman Wolf's bill to reform the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority's Board size and terms of service, Chairman Snelling assured the MWCOG Board that the MWAA Board has been (words to the effect) "open with the public and that minutes of MWAA's Board meetings have been made publicly available." (he may have said "online.")

Afterwards, I reminded Greg Wolfe, Counsel to the MWAA Board, that I have been asking for some months that minutes of MWAA Board meetings be posted online. Mr. Wolfe replied (words to the effect) "The Chairman has been working on this. Did you check the website today?"  To which I replied then (at about 1.15 pm) that I had not. I have checked the MWAA website in recent minutes. I see no evidence of links on the MWAA website providing the minutes from MWAA Board meetings or Board Committee meetings.  I suggested to Mr. Wolfe that MWAA could start to improve its transparency by posting minutes from all meetings of the MWAA Board and Board Committees during the last five years.  My wish is to understand the overall record of what was said and done at MWAA Board and Board Committee meetings, what was decided when and by whom and on what basis concerning Dulles Rail matters, particularly the discussion of financing alternatives and Dulles Toll Road toll projections.

Given the refusal of Chairman Snelling to hold a meeting of the Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee since November 18, 2010 to discuss Phase 2 project updates and alternatives, despite repeated requests of Chairman Scott York of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to do so, it appears to me that Mr. Snelling's remarks to MWCOG about public openness are somewhat disingenuous. I would remind MWAA that, in contrast to the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority which allows limited public input at its meetings on a monthly basis, MWAA has no similar forum for public input and discussion.

As to the latest Dulles Rail Phase 2 financial plan and cost estimates, MWAA President Jack Potter told me last month after his Committee for Dulles presentation in Tysons Corner that the cost estimates have been revised from the last figures provided by MWAA on July 11, 2011. The need to ensure that any revised estimates provided to the public reflect the best efforts of those involved in the project design team is understandable. However, denying access to the Phase 2 project team meetings to representatives of Dulles Toll Road users, whose money is to be used for most capital cost funding, is destroying any vestiges of trust and credibility that MWAA once enjoyed.

The Dulles Corridor Users Group and others in the Dulles Corridor seek an immediate and ongoing participation in the evaluation process of alternatives for planning and financing the Phase 2 rail project. If MWAA believes that this is not in the public interest, it should explain so publicly within the next few days.

Please forward this message to MWAA Board members and to Mr. Wolfe. Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Rob Whitfield

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are welcome and encouraged as long as they are relevant, constructive, and decent.