Saturday, February 2, 2008

More Media Coverage on Dulles Rail

The Leesburg Today newspaper reports that Loudoun County movers and shakers still support bringing Metro rail to Dulles Airport and Ashburn. and are working to find money to make it happen. Tony Howard, chairman of the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, said that the shock and surprise has worn off for most people, leaving only anger. "There is definite anger at the federal government for this foolish and short-sighted decision," Howard said. "This project is too damn important to the Northern Virginia community."

Meanwhile, last Thursday's Washington Post editorial says there's plenty of blame to go around. But that all of that is water under the bridge. "What's important is that extending Metro to the airport serves the interests of the federal government as well as Northern Virginia. Not only do federal workers and contractors need easy access to the airport, the government's security depends upon having a multitude of options for evacuation in case of terrorist attack. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail in the coming days, and officials can go back to the drawing board." The Post adds, "The rail extension's obituaries were written last week, including one by us. But if there remains even a whisker of a chance of resurrecting the project, officials should seize it."

The Sun Gazette newspaper also had an editorial last week on the project, saying "The rail proposal was a nice idea that appears not to have panned out. Can it be resurrected? There is hope, but we put little stock in it. Meanwhile, we can all get used to sitting in more and more traffic congestion. All the alternatives proposed by critics of this rail plan aren't going to to do much to change that."

Don't forget the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce... they are encouraging members and non-members to sign an online petition at and add your name to the growing list of supporters of Dulles Rail. You can also find a copy of the Chamber's letter to Secretary Mary Peters at DOT supporting the project, saying that the rail to Dulles project "... has been recognized as a necessity to the continued economic success of this region." And if you're so moved, there's a list of contacts and even a template letter you can e-mail.

Today's Washington Times reports today that Northern Virginia business leaders stood solidly behind Gov. Tim Kaine's pledge yesterday to complete a Metrorail extension to Washington Dulles International Airport, even if the state must change its plans to meet federal guidelines. The article added that business leaders led by the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce produced their petition they plan to present to the Department of Transportation in support of a passenger rail line from Tysons Corner to Dulles. The petition was signed by some of the region's biggest employers, including Northrop Grumman, AOL, Kaiser Permanente, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and George Washington University.

Watch the NBC TV-4 video on this story.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has a letter to the editor from John B. Catoe Jr., general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, writing that "Employment in the Dulles corridor is expected to increase 63 percent over the next 20 years, the population in Loudoun County is expected to grow 150 percent, and the number of passengers using Dulles International Airport will double. We have a chance now, to connect those communities with the rest of the region served by Metrorail. Imagine the opportunity available to people throughout the region if the extension is built to Tysons Corner and then to Dulles, compared with what would probably occur if the extension is not built. In which community would you rather live?"

And Virginia Business has a feature story about Virginia Airports, including Dulles, with a mention of the impact of the rail project, saying "Dulles Metro planners hope for an answer that will allow final design work to begin by midyear. However, it’s back to the drawing boards and another delay if they can’t get the federal OK."

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