Friday, August 3, 2007

Today's Media Update on the Dulles Metrorail Project

Today's Washington Post reports that the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a provision that could jeopardize the long-awaited extension of rail to Dulles International Airport by requiring closer study of a tunnel through Tysons Corner.

According to the Post, Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and several Virginia lawmakers met behind closed doors on Capitol Hill yesterday to discuss whether the provision could delay the project. The provision must be approved by the Senate. At yesterday's meeting, U.S. Reps. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) and Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) stated their commitment to gaining Federal Transit Administration approval for the rail line as quickly as possible, and both said they would rather build an above-ground line through Tysons than watch the project die, sources said according to the Post article.

Meanwhile, today's Washington Examiner reports that the first phase of the planned 23-mile rail line now is 'probably on a more solid track,' Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said after the hours-long discussion that dealt with the cost and timeline problems that have plagued the project, among other issues. 'And we think that some of the concerns that the Federal Transit Administration has may have been addressed,' he said.

The Examiner further reported that the meeting was convened, according to Gov. Kaine's spokesman Kevin Hall, “because the Rail-to-Dulles project is entering a critical phase where we’re working with the FTA to get final approvals and wanted to show the bipartisan support of the state and the region’s elected leaders to keep the project moving forward.” Spokesmen for Moran and Davis said no major change or agreement emerged from the meeting, though Moran’s words point to some sort of reassurance from the federal government that the project is still viable.

Got a view on Dulles Rail or how the project is being handled? If so, post your comments below.

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