BREAKING NEWS — Zimmerman Resigns from Metro Board

by ARLnow.com December 16, 2010 at 2:01 pm 4,556 56 Comments

Arlington County Board Vice Chairman Chris Zimmerman, who will soon take over as chairman of the county board, has resigned his position as a board member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, according to WTOP’s Adam Tuss.

Zimmerman has represented Arlington on the Metro board since January 1998. He also serves on several other regional transportation boards.

Gordon Linton, a Metro board member representing Montgomery County, also resigned at a board meeting today.

Update at 2:35 p.m. — We have been sent a copy of a letter Zimmerman sent to supporters explaining his surprising and unexpected resignation.

County board member Mary Hynes will be replacing Zimmerman on the Metro board, according to the letter.

Dear Friends:

Today I announced that I will be stepping down from my role as Arlington’s representative on the WMATA Board of Directors. On January 1st I will assume the Chairmanship of the Arlington County Board. In view of those responsibilities, and my desire to give greater focus to some of the needs within my county, I have decided that this is a good time for me to pass on the day-to-day duties of Metro representation.

I want to assure you that my commitment to transit and to Metro is as strong as ever, and I will continue to work for improvements to rail, bus, and paratransit services in our region. I will continue to serve on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (which is the governing body for WMATA in Virginia), as well as on the Transportation Planning Board for the National Capital Region, and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

One benefit of this move is that another member will have the opportunity to become immersed in the daily issues involved in the system, increasing the level of direct knowledge about Metro significantly on the Arlington Board. And I am confident that my County will be well-represented, and the region well-served, by the member who will succeed me on the WMATA Board.

My colleague Mary Hynes will take over in January. Mary is an exceptional public official, and she is well-prepared for this role. For the last three years she has served on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, for which she is currently Secretary-Treasurer. Mary has a very personal connection to Metro. For many years, she and her family have lived about a block-and-a-half from the Clarendon Metro station. They have relied upon the system, and seen the changes Metro has brought to the community over the years. Mary is also a very experienced local elected official, having served Arlington since 1995 as a School Board and now a County Board Member. She is known for her responsiveness to constituent’s concerns, and for paying close attention to details. Mary is also highly respected for her command of capital budgeting issues. She will be a strong advocate for riders, and a conscientious steward of the agency.

It has been a great privilege serving on the WMATA Board, and I appreciate all the help and support you have given me over the years in this role. I will be, as I have been, an ardent advocate for Metro, its riders, and the jurisdictions it serves. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you. There is much we need to do for the betterment of public transportation in our region, and for a bright future for Metro.

Thank you.

— Chris Zimmerman

  • YTK

    great Christmas – er HOLIDAY – gift.

    • mehoo


      • Mark Kinzler

        Because, Zimmerman and his cronies ruined the Metro.

        • mehoo


  • Lola

    This is an unfortunate development. Zimmerman has been an excellent Arlington representative on the Metro Board, and I am sad to see him go.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      Yea, like dealing with where all the folks on the new Silver line are gonna go when they get to the already over-burdened orange line at EFC.

  • John Antonelli

    Wow. Why is the question I want ARLNOW to find out. Zimmie’s tenure has been good and bad. Metro went to hell under his watch, but the guy REALLY REALLY loves transit. He goes on vacation to ride troleys so why he would give this up is beyond me. If it was because he realized he drove the system into the ground then good for him. If its for health reasons or family issues ten my heart goes out to him.

  • SteelWheeledTrolley

    Maybe all members will resign, WMATA will be disolved and rebuilt to consist of the Metrorail and inter-county bus lines only. Local buses should be handled by each County as should ADA vans. Metroaccess is killing WMATA.

  • SteelWheeledTrolley


    • mehoo

      I liked “disolved” better.

  • TGEoA

    Awesome. Now he just needs to move to California and let him be someone else’s problem.

  • DT

    He probably resigned in protest of Metro not allowing illegal aliens to ride for free.

    • mehoo


    • The Dope of South Arlington

      You are confusing him with Tajada.

  • Greg

    Good. Metro needs new blood.

    But I wish his replacement wasn’t another politician. I’m sure Board Members consider themselves experts in every area by virtue of having been elected to office, but really Metro needs someone with management and business skills.

    Good luck to Ms. Hynes though. Hopefully she can be effective where others have not.

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    Get a real job and get off the public teet! This guy is a talentless, non-productive career middle-man who spends his life feeding off of tax payers!

    • TGEoA


      • charlie


    • tuesdayschild

      +1 and he should take Tejada with him on the way out the door.

  • NorthAdams

    I take GREAT EXCEPTION to Zimmie referring to Arlington as “MY COUNTY” —
    it isn’t. it is OUR COUNTY. or the COUNTY HE REPRESENTS.

    • mehoo

      Wow, you’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel to find things to complain about.

      I’m sure you never say “my county” or “my neighborhood” or whatever, right?

      • NorthAdams

        are you challenging me on my blog ARLNOW? 🙂

        • I’m not sure what you’re talking about…?

  • Novanglus

    Wow. His tenure on the WMATA board was the only thing he did well. I think Mary Hynes will do even better, though.

    Redirecting his attention back to Arlington doesn’t bode well for Arlington.

  • TGEoA

    I hope Zimmie get’s sued by the family members of the people that were slaughtered.

  • paul

    I am glad Chris resigned. He should have stepped down long ago. I have been asking for his resignation for a long time. He may love transit, but METRO has gone downhill ever since he joined the METRO board. He believed (even after the accident that killed 9 people) that METRO was still a great operation with no problems. Talk about blind.

    • NorthAdams

      the same could be said about Arlington Board; Arlington Way and associated decorum.

  • Arlwhenever

    Okay I get it. Mary Hynes can see Metro from her house.

    But what is she going to do about the horrendous safety culture that developed under Zimmerman’s fifteen year watch?

    • Lou

      See, that’s another problem with the governance of Metro. How do you have a critical opening for a seat on the board, and it gets filled immediately, by the stroke of a pen from some bureaucrat? There’s a healthy debate going on outside of Metro from riders about the make-up of the board, and some public discussion, consideration and vetting would have gone a long way towards making people feel more involved. At least go through some motions and make people feel like they matter.

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    Zimmerman is the quintessential verbal squatter!

  • Set the controls

    Zimmerman has spearheaded the Columbia Pike trolley project, and that project will come under the supervision of WMATA. Perhaps Zimmerman wants to avoid conflicts of interest, or he wants to devote more time to getting the trolley underway.

  • Thes

    It’s is apparent from the above that the frothing Zimmerman-hating “regular contributors” to this blog (at least one of whom has sockpuppeted under at least two different names just on this very thread) are completely out of touch with the residents of Arlington County, who just overwhelmingly re-elected Chris Zimmerman and like the way he does things.

    The fact is that Chris Zimmerman was a tireless advocate and leader at Metro for a decade in which it faced tremendous funding obstacles. He was respected by his peers at Metro and put Arlington on track for huge transit improvements, including the ART bus system, major improvements at Ballston and Rossyln stations, and, yes the Columbia Pike trolley. Every day, there are people who can get to work, home, or the doctor’s more easily directly and specifically because of Chris Zimmerman’s efforts.

    From reading these comments, you’d think somehow Zimmerman was personally responsible for the tiny number of passenger deaths that occurred over that period (and it is tiny, compared to the number of bikers, pedestrians and auto drivers and passengers killed in the region the same period), that he personally was the one who kept Congress, Virginia and Maryland from properly funding the system.

    There was a time when this blog started that it was a good place for informed, reasonable dialogue. But it seems clear that without stronger moderation and accountability for posters, the truth-phobic extreme right-winger trolls (with help from their alter-egos: the crazy “independents” and the alleged “Democrats” opposed to every actual Arlington Democrat) will soon have finished overwhelming this site with their quasi-racist scandal invention.

    What a shame.

    • Lola

      Well said. I agree with you 100%.

      • MariaC

        As do I.

    • NorthAdams

      i think everyone would be disappointed if THES had NOT shown up with his blind love statements. thank you for being reliable, predictable and a entertaining all at the same time.
      Once again you deride people who have views different than yours. One of these days you’ll learn that different viewpoints are good. and sometimes even better.

    • TGEoA

      About time his water boy showed up.

      • NorthAdams


    • DT

      Thank you for your insight, Mrs. Zimmerman.

      • John Antonelli

        Sounds like BS to me. What about all those other times Zimmie was Chair of the ACB and on the Metro Board.

        • Eland

          Of course it’s BS. it’s political suicide to be tied to a longterm decline of a formerly glorious transit system. He’s not a Metro rider — he just doesn’t “get” what we who ride the system through thick and thin put up with daily. He likes transport. Big deal. So does my 4-year-old, but he’s not qualified to help run Metro. Vamoose, Zimbo.

    • Matt W.

      Thes, Why are you defending someone who’s position requires oversight of WMATA operations who asks “How do we know if the escalators are working?” Your defense doesn’t pass the laugh test.

    • Eland

      . . . And so you are wasting your time making the longest post of all on this useless site because . . . ?

  • Lou

    Santa came early.

  • MC

    Seems like this is just musical chairs for the County Board. The next presumptive Chair who is up for re-election next year gets a new title to make her self seem more important.

    Whatever Zimmerman’s talents, the larger issue is that the Metro Board governance is a joke and no local elected officials ought to be pretending to be running it, because the beast to far too out of control for them to understand, much less direct. Metro needs to be turned over to the Army Corps of Engineers or some other corporate body that doesn’t need to grandstand.

    • S. Arl


  • gdf

    every time i look at one of those spring loaded hand “straps” that NO ONE uses, i’ll think of chris’ masterful understanding of metro

    • TGEoA

      lol, don’t tell me that was Zimmie’s idea?

    • mehoo

      They were put there to test – to see if people would use them. You had no friggin’ idea whether anyone would use them either when they were put in. How dare Metro test something to find the best option so it can spend its money wisely to make riding easier!

  • MariaC

    I agree with Thes and Lola. The Zimmie-haters live here to spew their bile.

    • NorthAdams

      Maria: I don’t pick on the others because they do their jobs and aren’t arrogant and pompous about it. Zimmie cleans up his act and becomes a true leader I won’t pick on him. til then, pile on.

      • Greg


  • Pingback: Zimmerman’s exit: Good news for Metro « ArlingtonGOP()

  • mehoo

    If the GOP ran things, there wouldn’t be Metro, just a 14-lane I-66.

  • Westoverite

    Actually, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission appoints the representative NOT Chris Zimmerman.

  • Eland

    There was no alternative. Politically, Zimmerman needed to step down to avoid further tarnishing his reputation. Metro’s depressing decline is inextricably linked to him. He referenced a key point in his letter: Hynes’ (his replacement from Arlington) family lives near Metro, the implication being they use it. Zimmerman is NOT a Metro user, something he’s said in the past. Being a regular rider must be a requirement of any Metro board member. Amen.

  • NorthAdams

    well-respected Washington Post columnist gets it VERY RIGHT about Zimmie:


Subscribe to our mailing list