News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Metro Silver Line: Time out!

After last week's wacky, sitcom-like misunderstanding about federal funding for Metro's Silver Line, for which construction has already sort of begun even though no green light was given but that was okay since Gov. Kaine's best friend's sister's cousin's girlfriend had told him it was going to get the green light or whatever but in reality they secretly planned to reject it so Bush administration cronies the Carlyle Group could totally privatize it and build the rails out of depleted uranium exported from Iraq or whatever.... everyone's taking a time out.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters has agreed to a brief "cooling-off" period before making a final decision on whether to fund a rail line to Dulles International Airport, prompting a renewed effort by Virginia political leaders to keep the troubled project alive.
Yay! That's good, especially since the real construction was supposed to start... uh... Friday. Luckily, the contractors are buying into the whole "time-out" concept as well.
The contract to build the rail line has an escalation clause that was set to kick in Friday. The clause would drive up the price, and keep the project from meeting federal standards for cost-effectiveness. But the contractor has agreed to push back that deadline for 30 days.
And the completion date by about, oh, 30 years.

Meanwhile, Post columnist Marc Fisher has come up with, as they say in the movies, a plan, which basically comes down to ditching Big Dig contractor Bechtel, reconsidering buses and light rail, and--oh yeah--actually giving Metro a new dedicated funding source, so it can actually afford to have some really awesome track fires on the new line. That's so crazy, it just might work!

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