The WaPo is reporting a 10 a.m. conference call today where Rail to Dulles will be approved by the federal government. Or at least phase one- from Wiehle Ave. to Falls Church on the new Silver line.
A few thoughts:
First- Gerry Connolly has pushed successfully to increase densities around the new Metro stations. While this makes sense from a Smart Growth perspective in general- it is worth noting that the project's own studies show that the density will bring more people into Tysons than the Metroline is expected to carry. In other words, beyond the traffic nightmare of construction- traffic in Tysons will get worse because there will be MORE cars- not less after this project is completed. That's not to bash the project totally, because it will be good economic development, but this is NOT a traffic reliving project, it is a land use project. The Post needs to start reporting this.
Second, the big loser here is Southern Fairfax County. Metro is subsidized partially by local governments based on the mileage of the system within their juristiction. The new Silver line will run through Fairfax from Falls Church to Reston (and eventually out to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County). So Fairfax taxpayers in Springfield, Lorton, Fairfax Station, Mt. Vernon, Franconia, Clifton and Burke will be helping to pay for this service every single year in local taxes- but will probably never use it. Why? The new Silver line is very poorly planned for location for Southern Fairfax. Residents here will have to either fight an awful commute north to a Metro station on the Orange line (For me in Burke which is closest of anywhere in South Fairfax- it takes almost an hour to get to Vienna Metro in the morning)... or they will have to use the Blue Line. The Blue Line, of course, doesn't meet the Orange Line until Rosslyn (35 minutes from Franconia-Springfield station) and then they will need to take the Orange line to Falls Church (20 minutes) before boarding the Silver line for another 15-20 minutes to Tysons. In other words- nothing faster than just driving to Tysons- meaning very few in South County will ever use this line during rush hour. Those living in Huntington (yellow line) will need to change to Blue at the Pentagon, then change to Orange at Rosslyn, then change to Silver at Falls Church- so even worse for those living in Mt. Vernon.
Third- Arlington County residents should rise up in anger. The addition of a 3rd line through the Rosslyn tunnel means that every line will have less frequent trains now. Where was the Arlington Delegation while this plan was being vetted????
Finally- let's not forget that Gerry is benefiting from this from his other job- working for SAIC, known for its involvement in the Iraq War. As the WaPo said last year in the article titled "Connolly's Two Roles Provoke Questions":
"Connolly has been an outspoken advocate for the proposed Metro extension to Dulles International Airport, a project with benefits for Fairfax but also one that could place an underground station almost directly in front of SAIC's offices, significantly increasing the property value."
And, by the way, that station for SAIC was added into the plan right about the same time they hired a new Vice President... named Gerry Connolly.