Metro’s delegation to Japan to see the new rail cars under construction was bigger than the agency initially reported.
On Friday, Metro said it sent six people to Japan earlier this year: General Manager Richard Sarles, deputy general manager Dave Kubicek, the head of customer service and communications, two members of the equipment engineering team and a train operator to assess the design of the car’s controls.
But in response to The Washington Examiner, the agency acknowledged on Monday that two paid consultants also traveled to Japan for the showcasing of the new rail car, bringing the total to eight.
“Everything that a contractor does gets billed back but it’s not part of the travel authorization,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel explained. “We don’t directly pay for their travel.”
The money comes out of the contracts the consultants’ employers have with the agency.
The agency has not said how much the trip cost for the Metro employees, but noted the money came from the capital budget that covers repairs and new rail cars, not from riders’ fares.
Metro said the trip is important to let top officials check on the rail cars before the design is finalized. The agency ordered 428 rail cars for $886 million.
“This is what you’d expect us to do,” Stessel added. “It is prudent in the process that key members of our staff participate in a hands-on way. It’s absolutely the right thing to be doing.”