Monday, February 11, 2008

Board of Trade Says Dulles Rail is Critical to Region

Washington Post economy writer Neil Irwin and James C. Dinegar, the chief executive for the Greater Washington Board of Trade, were online this morning, Monday, Feb. 11, with a Washington Post online chat discussing their economic outlook for the Washington, D.C. region.

Among the topics discussed was the Dulles Rail project. According to Dinegar,

"The Rail to Dulles is critical for the region - not just Virginia. Access to more of the affordable housing, better access to jobs, more access to business and the right thing to do. I am hopeful that the Federal money comes in and we should know in the coming weeks. The Governor and the DOT Secretary are to be commended for getting together and working this out - but keep up the call for it, as it will help smooth out the downturn in construction when we have a $5 billion effort for the next several years."

Meanwhile, yesterday's Post says that for some, the possible denial of federal funding for a proposed Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport is not a setback, but an opportunity.

"Most in this group acknowledge that they represent a small but vocal minority in a sea of broad business support for the 23-mile, $5 billion extension, which would bring transit to Tysons Corner and the booming Dulles jobs corridor beyond. But these critics are nonetheless firm in their belief that the project is fatally flawed: too expensive, poorly managed and lacking competitive bidding. If the Federal Transit Administration follows through on its threat to deny $900 million in funding, they say, Virginia and the region would be getting a gift, not a slap in the face: a chance to start over and make the project right."

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