Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., has reintroduced two bills aimed at giving Virginia control of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and strengthening government oversight of the scandal-ridden issuer.
Wolf’s legislation would shrink the size of the MWAA board from its current 17 members to nine, six of which would be appointed by the governor of Virginia. The federal government, the mayor of the District of Columbia, and the governor of Maryland would each appoint one board member. Under current rules, Virginians make up seven of the 17 board members.
Wolf said last year when he introduced the bill that Virginia has a clear interest in controlling MWAA, as both Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the two airports it oversees, are both located physically within the commonwealth. MWAA, which has issued billions of bonds for airport spending and construction of the Silver Line rail extension to Dulles airport, has been rocked by repeated scandals over conflicts of interest, improper hiring practices, and expensive travel and perks, during past two years.
Wolf also introduced a bill creating a new inspector general post with the sole duty of providing federal oversight of MWAA. While he praised the progress the board has made since a Department of Transportation audit last year uncovered evidence of nepotism and lavish spending, Wolf said it is not yet enough.
“While I commend MWAA on its efforts to improve its operations over the past few months, more still needs to be done to ensure efficient and ethical practices,” Wolf said.