Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Airport Board Seeks Credibility With Its ‘Sponsoring Bodies,’ Makes No Mention of Local Citizens, Fairfax News, September 5, 2012


The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors today adopted a new travel policy, as it tries to restore the confidence of top federal, state and local officials who have criticized the authority for lax spending and oversight policies. In its official release announcing the changes, the board made no mention of winning the confidence of taxpayers who have been critical of its actions.
“As we meet here today, my fellow board members and I are acutely aware that a bright light of scrutiny has been focused on this organization,” chairman Michael A. Curto told a specially-called meeting of the directors.  “Our sponsoring bodies have questioned whether we are doing all that we can do to ensure the professionalism, integrity and cost effectiveness of MWAA.”
The authority is an oddly-constituted interstate compact, a public body that is not directly answerable to taxpayers and voters. Its members are appointed by elected officials from Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and elsewhere but the citizens whose tax dollars and airport and toll road usage support its operations have no say in its operation and are seldom mentioned, even in passing, by board members.
 “All these little towns, they all have their own little issues,” a former board member told this reporter derisively several years ago. “We don’t care about that. We’ve got to get people to the airport!” . . . .
And that pretty much says it all, although you can read the rest of this article here

The MWAA Board of Directors wants to get the authorities who control their posh jobs off their back and apparently they will grovel as low as they must to make that happen.  On the other hand, they care not a whit about the public they are suppose to be serving.

Their disdain for the public is most pronounced in dealing with the concerns of the more than 100,000 people who use the Dulles Toll Road daily.  The sham "public hearings" that will begin today are the latest manifestation of that.  They are declaring their legally required annual open house a "public hearing."  The format is the same as it has been for years.  There will be no public testimony or questioning.  There will be no transcript, only a selective and heavily edited response to public comments submitted in writing to MWAA.  And few--very few--MWAA Board members will even take the time to show up.  

But--as the pitchman says--that's not all!  In fact, based on the second worst rating earned by the Dulles International Airport in US News & World Report's latest ranking of airports for layovers (sandwiched between Newark and Los Angeles at #1 and #3), MWAA doesn't care much about its airline passengers either.  Here's what USN&WR says:
Although Washington, D.C.'s international airport has improved its on-time departure performance since the beginning of 2011, Dulles continues to slow down flyers. Dulles has invested a lot of money in its infrastructure, building out an AeroTrain (an airport train system that connects passengers from the main terminal to A, B, and C gates), but unfortunately, the renovations don't appear to boost punctuality.  Dulles' on-time arrival rating isn't much better than its on-time departure rating, with 79.9 percent of flights reaching the gate on time between January and June 2012.
The layover lowdown:
As far as poor customer satisfaction goes, Dulles takes the cake. This can be attributed to Dulles' limited selection of amenities, shops, and restaurants. Should you experience a long layover, your best bet is to sit back and savor a brew at an airport bar.
There you have it:  The MWAA Board doesn't care about either the flying or driving public, just protecting their perks.  They want your money; they don't care about your concerns. 

The whole Board structure, authorities, and membership of this unresponsive public organizations needs to be replaced to serve the public.  

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