News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Guess we didn't clap loud enough

Federal officials tell Virginia that Metro's shiny new Silver Line wouldn't be prudent!

The head of the Federal Transit Administration, James S. Simpson, outlined his concerns in a letter sent Thursday to Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. He said the project doesn't appear to be a "prudent investment."

The FTA evaluated the project under the New Starts criteria and considered the risks associated with the project.

According to Simpson's letter, "The sheer number and magnitude of the current project's technical, financial and institutional risks and uncertainties are unprecedented for a candidate New Starts project."

According to New Starts criteria, a project must receive a rating of medium or higher for project justification and local financial commitment. The FTA rated the Dulles Metro project medium-low for both.
That doesn't sound good. But all we need to do is to pull up our bootstraps and get clapping again. Right?
"If this project is not approved, it's dead. There are contracts that expire on Feb. 1. You can't just snap your fingers and start it back up," said Jim Dinegar, of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.
Looks like Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine's got a busy weekend ahead of him:
After meeting for several hours with Simpson, Kaine indicated they need to answer the federal concerns by Monday.

"We have a great sense of confidence in this project and the partners of the project and the fact that we have done what we have been asked to do and met the criteria. But we will see what their written documentation is."
Failing that, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce has come up with, as they say in the movies, a plan. They're urging people to call the White House and ask Bush to overrule his own Transportation Secretary.

We'll stick to clapping.

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