The 51st State

This is the story of how “America’s Subway”
became a dysfunctional rogue empire.

Welcome to my website about Metro. I recently retired after 27 years as a Metro employee. My primary goal in creating this blog is to attempt to make Metro safer and more efficient for employees and passengers by exposing unsafe practices or expanding upon what has already been said in the mainstream media.

A secondary goal is to raise public awareness. Awareness of how dysfunctional and wasteful Metro is. Most importantly, to make people aware of Metro’s status as the “51st state”. All mass transit systems are exempt from most of the rules and regulations governing railroads, but Metro is in a class by itself because it covers multiple jurisdictions. Metro is operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or WMATA. WMATA answers to no one. It was created by congress, President Johnson, the mayor of D.C., and the governors of Maryland and Virginia — and then unleashed upon the nation’s capital. Legally, it is the equivalent of a state — the 51st state. There is no oversight — none with any teeth anyway. Metro can and does ignore state and federal OSHA, the EPA, the NTSB, the FRA, the Tri-state Oversight Committee (TOC), etc.

I’d also like to make people aware that any employer that carries worker’s comp (WC) insurance can literally _kill_ their employees with impunity — even if gross negligence is involved. The deceased employee’s family/dependents cannot sue the employer, or the employees responsible for their loved one’s death. Often, the employee’s dependents receive very little in WC benefits — less than a passenger who slipped and fell and broke their arm would get in a typical lawsuit.

Finally, I’d like to share some of what I experienced in my 27 years behind the scenes as a technician at “America’s Subway”.

In those 27 years at Metro as an Automatic Train Control (ATC) Technician I had the pleasure to work with some very intelligent, conscientious, knowledgeable and skilled technicians. Many of my coworkers in other departments were similarly professional and took pride in their work. That needs to be said because portions of this blog might lead a person to conclude otherwise. There are a lot of good people at Metro trying to do their job safely, to the best of their ability, under very difficult circumstances and in conditions that are often extremely dangerous.

I don’t know that anyone can make any significant and lasting improvements to Metro as long as it is in its current form, but I will do my best to come up with some positive suggestions.