Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Population Growth, Traffic and Dulles Rail

So, perhaps there's not going to be a Dulles Rail project. No big deal right?

After all, Dulles International Airport isn't that important!

And since 2000, Loudoun County has only grown 62.5 percent (accounting for one-sixth of the total population increase for the commonwealth of Virginia). Which by the way, the commonwealth's population reached 7.7 million last year, increasing by more than 633,000 new residents since the 2000 Census, making Virginia the 12th-largest population in the nation.

Oh well, at least it gives one pause to wonder why.

Read more media coverage on the Dulles Rail project...
The Washington Examiner reported today that a senior Metro official two weeks ago accused Dulles Rail project managers of failing to resolve a series of technical problems that are potentially serious enough to prevent the transit agency from operating the proposed line, letters between the two agencies show. The most recent letter, a Jan. 16 memo from John Thomas, director of Metro’s office of major capital projects, highlights a behind-the-scenes rift over dozens of complex engineering issues and illustrates one of the reasons why the Federal Transit Administration says it won’t fund a critical $900 million for the project’s first phase.

An Examiner editorial today also comments that funding is the least of Dulles Rail’s problems.

And an online AP story this evening on the Examiner's Web site reports that transit industry leaders suspect a Bush administration bias against public transportation is the reason a much-anticipated extension of Washington's Metrorail system has run into unexpected roadblocks.

Meanwhile, the Washington Times reports that Gov. Kaine said that he knew the Federal Transit Administration had serious concerns about the proposed $5.1 billion Dulles rail project months before the agency made the surprise announcement that it intended to pull $900 million in funding. But he thought the agency's concerns about costs had been addressed and was among those surprised Thursday when he and other state leaders met on Capitol Hill with Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters and FTA chief James S. Simpson, who then made the public announcement.

And as Gov. Kaine works on a response to the FTA's denial of funding, work crews continue to labor in the center of Tysons Corner, relocating utilities to make way for a rail project that could be almost a billion dollars short, according to a story by the Fairfax Times. "Our position is that we don't want to fall behind schedule. That's why utility relocation began, to maintain the schedule," explained Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokeswoman Tara Hamilton.

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