Correction: This story has been altered from its original wording. The story originally said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had told Mayor Annise Parker he wanted new leadership at Metro. Texas Watchdog regrets the error. -- Ed
The message to Mayor Annise Parker from Washington: Fix Metro's issues soon.
Parker said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wants a quick resolution to the turmoil at Metro, given the hundreds of millions of dollars slated to soon come down from Washington to fund Metro's planned additional light-rail lines. Parker announced this at a press conference this afternoon at which she released reports from five transition subcommittees and announced her nominations for the Metro board.
When a reporter asked Parker whether LaHood wanted Metro CEO Frank Wilson fired, she said "no." According to the mayor, LaHood wants to see Metro's turmoil resolved ASAP, but did not ask her to fire anyone. "The secretary encouraged me that, if we made changes, that we move rapidly and resolve any current uncertainties down here as quickly as possible," Parker said.
The mayor, who was inaugurated in January, said she had told the new board nominees she wanted "regular communication from them. I wanted them to work hard and do their homework and really to research the issues," and that she wanted a change in Metro's leadership "absolutely sooner rather than later. And Secretary LaHood pushed me on that -- again, because we are expecting full federal funding toward the first two (additional light rail) lines, the north and the southeast lines, and they want to make sure that we are ready to go."
Parker's nominees for the Metro board are Gilbert Andrew Garcia, Christof Spieler, Allen Dale Watson, Carrin F. Patman, and Dwight E. Jefferson.
The reports can be be viewed by following the links below:
METRO Report to the Mayor
Basic Services Committee Report
Committee on Regional Coordination Report
Funding Structure Committee Light Rail Punchlist Committee Report
METRO SBE Report to the Mayor