By Keith Laing
Wolf said the "most egregious" findings of the inspector general's report were about the airport panel's contracting procedures, which has emerged as a sticking point in negotiations over the proposal rail line to Dulles.
The first phase of construction of the railway, which is scheduled to open next year, is being built with the help of a $900 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration. But state and local Republicans in Virginia have taken issue with a provision in construction plans for the second phase of the proposed railway that would give preference in contracting to companies that use unionized workers.
The provision was drafted by the airport board, which was appointed mostly by Democrats.
But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday after the release of inspector general's report that he had confidence in the beleaguered panel.
"I am confident in MWAA’s new leadership," LaHood said in a statement released by his office. "They have assured me that they will take every step necessary to achieve greater transparency and accountability going forward."
LaHood has previously intervened to negotiate stalemates in funding for the construction of the railway to Dulles, which has called one of the most important public transportation projects in the country, and he met with local officials again recently.
He said Tuesday that the transportation department would appoint an "accountability officer" to ensure "MWAA’s policies and practices have additional oversight and meet high standards of ethics and fiscal responsibility.
“Past problems should not impact the progress we are making on the Silver Line, a project critical to the future economic success of the Washington region," LaHood said.
The first phase of the proposed rail line to Dulles is scheduled to open next year. Plans called for construction of the second half to begin in 2013, and the station at Dulles airport was scheduled to open in 2016.