Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dulles Rail Picks up where it left off


Today's WAPO reports the "stark reversal" of the FTA in planning to approve the proposed 23-mile extension of Metrorail into Loudoun County and Dulles Airport.

The issue seemed to utterly disappear from the news and commentary for the past few months, as a foregone conclusion of failure, while officials and politicians evidently continued to wrangle in private. It's absolutely good news for Loudoun, and a cornerstone of the county's ongoing efforts to lure more commercial taxpayers into the county, keep cars off the swollen roads, and encourage more "reverse commute" workers to head into Loudoun for work. We won't actually see this until successive phases of the project, however, as the first phase ends at Wiehle Ave. in Reston. But that's close enough, especially for those in Loudoun battling the Toll Road or Rt. 50 every morning to get deep into Fairfax or downtown to DC.

The discussions appear also to be only semi-politically driven, as leaders from both sides of various aisles were instrumental in their support - the Democrats led by Kaine and Republicans led by Warner and Wolf. It makes obvious sense to draw conclusions that the politicians are motivated by upcoming elections to cast their parties and their candidates in the best possible light over this very public and important issue - but their motivated support also simply makes good economic sense with our Northern Virginia communities suffering through hideous downturns in the housing market and associated industries, and facing all sorts of county and education cutbacks in light of reduced tax revenues.

Dulles Rail can't get here fast enough - hopefully there won't be any more delays, and hopefully there will be fewer "back-room" deals and discussion necessary to keep it moving over the requisite hurdles.

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