Norton introduces bill to clean up airports, Dulles Rail contracts

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Local,Transportation,Liz Essley

D.C.'s delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, introduced a bill Thursday to force the troubled Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to follow federal contracting rules.

The authority, which oversees the $6 billion Dulles Rail project and two airports, was recently blasted by a federal inspector for shady contracting practices and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of no-bid deals.

The authority currently follows its own set of contracting guidelines, which it is revising according to recommendations in the inspector general report.

"MWAA's lack of transparency and competition on contracts is troubling," Norton said in a statement. "The airports authority is responsible for a significant amount of taxpayer money, and their current procurement procedures are inadequate. Instead of reinventing the wheel, my bill requires MWAA to use the very thorough and time-tested Federal Acquisition Regulations, which provides legal guidelines for every aspect of procurement and maximizes fairness and transparency."

The bill comes the day before a Congressional committee is due to grill airports officials over the problems found in the federal audit.

Airports officials in response to the federal report have repeatedly pointed to ongoing reforms at the authority, including new ethics and travel policies.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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Liz Essley

Staff Writer - Transportation
The Washington Examiner