Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Trouble for Metro

As if Metro doesn’t have enough problems, CAF USA--the company hired to build the cars for the new light rail lines--is threatening to sue if its contract is canceled. If this actually occurs, Metro will find itself fighting a multi-million dollar law suit while simultaneously begging federal transportation bureaucrats for hundreds of millions in federal money.

No matter what happens, tax payers are going to be the big losers in this fiasco. Either we will get to throw a bunch of money at a law suit and get nothing in return, or we will get to throw a bunch of money at a light rail system that nobody will ride.

CAF is first going to ask the Federal Transit Administration to reconsider its ruling that Metro violated a "buy American" mandate and has asked Metro to consider joining in the challenge. Knowing who butters his bread, Gilbert Garcia, Metro's chairman, said:
It is still our intention to cancel the contracts. We're not going to deviate from the path that our partners at the FTA have laid out.
If one refuses to attach meaning to words, I suppose Metro could call the FTA its partner. But for the rest of us, Garcia's comment is nothing more than appeasing drivel. The FTA is setting the rules and holds the purse strings, and Metro must obey. They are partners only in the sense that each is seeking to rip off tax payers and jamb mass transit down out throats.

Metro desperately needs the $900 million grant now being held up by the FTA. Without that money it will be unable to complete its latest boondoggle. It will then face the choice of abandoning its grand dreams of running cattle cars all over the city, or return to voters to beg for more money. Given the state of the economy and ongoing revelations of incompetence at Metro, it is unlikely that voters would approve more tax money for Metro.

I'd like to think that this could perhaps be a blessing in disguise, that perhaps Metro and its light rail minions will finally surrender. But I am doubtful. Zoning advocates have not been deterred by defeat in three referendums. Their intellectual brethren will not let something as paltry as a lost federal grant stop them either.


Mr. Moderate said...

And, other than Frank Wilson, none of the Metro staff responsible for this travesty will lose their jobs. All of the procurement staff involved, and the lawyers, need to be fired as soon as possible. Wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on illegal activity has to have consequences.

Brian Phillips said...

I agree. I won't be surprised if a few people are forced to fall on their sword, but the truly guilty parties, e.g., Bill White, will likely move on to greener pastures.