News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Metro Silver Line: Better Keep Clapping, Just in Case!

Metro's awesome Silver Line through Tysons, Reston, Dulles and the vast particleboard wastelands beyond just might quite possibly be absolutely going to happen this time, kids, so don't worry about a thing.

Federal regulators have approved a long-awaited extension of Metrorail to Tysons Corner and Dulles International Airport, virtually assuring construction of a $5.2 billion project that regional leaders say is crucial to ease congestion and spur economic growth in Northern Virginia.

By signing off on the project, the Federal Transit Administration reversed its position of almost a year ago, when its regulators declared Dulles rail unqualified to receive $900 million in federal funding, citing cost overruns, delays and concerns about management. The project now heads to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and the Office of Management and Budget for final approval. But the transit agency's action is widely viewed as a critical achievement that essentially guarantees the federal funding. Without it, the project would have died, state and regional officials said.
Ironically, the same hilarious financial meltdown that's cratered the real estate market and just about everything else may have ultimately saved the Silver Line's track fire-seared bacon:
Their caution also reflects the widely held view that politics and ideology played a role in the project's problems within the Federal Transit Administration and the Department of Transportation. Peters has spoken publicly several times about the advantages of the privatization of transit; some of her subordinates in the department have worked for private equity companies that have expressed interest in purchasing the toll road.

[U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.)] said the national credit crisis probably helped the project's chances, because it "dried up" interest among private purchasers who had been eyeing the toll road. "But more importantly," he said, "the ideologues in the administration have given up."
So crack open the champagne and start idling the Escalade on the shoulder of Wiehle Avenue to make sure you're the first to get a space in the shiny new parking garage when it opens in 20..whatever. Right?
The reviews by Peters and the budget office should take about a month, officials said, so they should be completed before the new administration takes over. After that, the proposal goes to Congress for final approval.
Hmm. Better keep clapping, kids!

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps Obama's FDR-like WPA or CCC will do the work...


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