News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Metro Silver Line: So You're Telling Me There's a Chance

After telling Virginia officials that Metro's awesome proposed Silver Line through Tysons Tegucigalpa, Reston, Dulles and the hinterlands beyond was as dead as a doornail, the Feds have lightened up a bit.

WASHINGTON - The proposed Metrorail extension to Dulles Airport remains unrated in a Federal Transit Administration report, boosting the hopes of the project's supporters.

Backers of the 23-mile extension anticipated that it would receive a failing grade in Tuesday's report because of warnings from federal regulators that the project was unlikely to qualify for $900 million in U.S. funds.

FTA spokesman Wes Irvin said it would have been "unfair" to give Dulles rail a poor rating, The Washington Post reports. He said the report was assembled in the fall as the agency awaited information from Virginia about the project's cost, management and timeline.
To us, Wes sounds a bit like an overwhelmed middle school science teacher bullied by parent calls into not flunking the kids who didn't get their baking soda-fueled volcano science fair projects done on time. That's not totally fair, though, since Metro's tracks actually manage to flame out and smolder on a regular basis. And an "incomplete" is a lot better than an "F," even if it doesn't get federal funds flowing in time to turn Tysons Tegucigalpa into a winter wonderland full of yellow construction cones and indolent construction workers loitering on backhoes.

But there's still hope. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is asking the Feds for suggestions. And the business community is still clapping.
"Before, only people with a special axe to grind were engaged," said William D. Lecos, president of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. "Now it's a much broader voice."
That broad voice includes Reston businesses.
Reston Hospital Center has found that transferring patients by ambulance is not an option at rush hour. It has increasingly been shuttling patients by helicopter, a safer and faster, yet more expensive, alternative.

Northrop Grumman opened a headquarters in Reston 10 years ago with the expectation that employees would be able to ride Metrorail to work by now, said Bob Waters, vice president of human resources and administration. If employees are no longer willing to make the difficult commute, the company won't be able to expand here, he said.

"If we can't staff big projects locally, we may decide to go to West Virginia," he said. "We do have to look at alternatives."
Makes sense. After all, West Virginia has awesome mass transit.


  1. That bus looks like an example of the ones the anti-Metro folks argue should take people to Dulles. It certainly wouldn't get stuck in bumper to bumper traffic!

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  4. Funny you should mention that! (See .)

  5. That should read "see link."

    Bad Blogger software. Bad.

  6. Looks like the opponents were able to get their voices heard using political influence after all those pesky courts and engineering studies did not support their position. That is not surprising given that both the West and Carlyle Groups are involved. You could almost see the stick propping up the FTA spokesperson at the last press conference. It will be fascinating to see if Kaine, Davis, Moran, et all have enough political firepower to push back. Meanwhile Fairfax County is approving more high density development for Reston Heights. I think they are trying to push the travel time from Glade to Baron Cameron to 30 minutes at Rush Hour. They are building all those high rise buildings and want the big city traffic to go with it.


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