Gov. Bob McDonnell has announced his selection of James W. Dyke, Jr. as the designee to represent Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) board of directors. In his role on NVTC, Dyke will also act as Virginia's representative on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) board.
"Mr. Dyke is the best candidate to represent the commonwealth's vision for transit choices in the Northern Virginia region as he has first-hand experience with the transit system in the region; a history of being non-political, serving Virginia under both Democrat and Republican governors; and a clear interest in addressing problems and finding solutions," said Gov. McDonnell.
In selecting Virginia's representative for NVTC, Gov. McDonnell sought a candidate with multi-disciplinary expertise, experience with and a passion for improving the Northern Virginia region, interest in identifying transportation solutions, and strong communication skills. Because the representative would also serve on the WMATA board, Gov. McDonnell considered the recommendations outlined in several reviews of the WMATA system – including the Board of Trade Report, the Congressional Research Service review, and the Government Accountability Office review. These reviews suggested improvements to the WMATA Board including characteristics of board members that would lend themselves to effective management of the WMATA system. Characteristics such as interest in public transportation and willingness to improve the system as a whole; political independence to evaluate operational decisions; and balanced and varied interests and backgrounds from areas such as the business, financial, legal and marketing industries were cited as key attributes of a successful WMATA Board.
"Mr. Dyke's extensive experience matches the recommendations put forth in the WMATA Board reviews," said Gov. McDonnell. "His stature in the community, professionalism, communication skills, understanding of the issues facing the region, political independence and commitment to reforming Metro are qualities that will serve Virginia well and will help enhance the WMATA system and transit choices throughout the region."
Dyke is currently a partner in the law firm of McGuire Woods, LLP. Dyke served as secretary of education under Gov. Doug Wilder and as a special assistant to Vice President Walter Mondale. He has been actively involved in legislative activities, in job creation initiatives and in business issues. He brings a regional perspective to NVTC, having held appointed positions in three jurisdictions in the region, and residing in Reston, Virginia. An active leader in the Northern Virginia business community, Dyke has served on the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Virginia Business Roundtable, and has been both a member and the Chairman of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. During his term as chair, Dyke was co-chair of the WMATA Governance Review Task Force, an experience which provided him with personal knowledge of the inner workings of the WMATA system.
Commenting on his appointment to the WMATA Board, Dyke noted, "As a frequent Metro rider, I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the betterment of the Northern Virginia transit system, and I look forward to representing the commonwealth and the Northern Virginia region as we work to provide a safe, efficient and robust network of transportation choices."
NVTC manages and controls the functions, affairs and property of the Northern Virginia Transportation District, and is made up of six member jurisdictions – the counties of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church. NVTC's board of directors is made up of representatives from the six jurisdictions, members of the Virginia General Assembly, and a representative of the Virginia Secretary of Transportation.
NVTC also appoints Virginia's members to the WMATA Board. In the 2011 Virginia General Assembly session, legislation was approved to require the appointment of the Virginia Secretary of Transportation's designee as a principle voting member of the WMATA Board to ensure adequate oversight of the Commonwealth's investment in the critical Northern Virginia transit system. The Commonwealth provides more than half of Virginia's portion of funding for WMATA.