Jim is busy and cannot come to the Blog right now, but leave a message and there will be a new excuse to keep hopes for a flawed scheme alive by the time he is back.

Someone figured out that in a tight race Rep Wolf, whom so ever runs for Davis’s seat and others in the Elephant Clan would look bad if Rail to Dulles was dead on the first Tuesday in November.

So what do the Politics-As-Usual folks do?

Give the plan “approval” with a poison pill that will not cause death until later.

The pill? Massive infusion of cash for METRO. (If not the law suit, etc.) Where will the money come from?

The story goes on and on. You can do that when you do not have to pay for the paper it is written on.

Anyone for the next shuttle to Easter Island? That story on Monday.


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  1. Not Ed Risse Avatar
    Not Ed Risse

    Ed Risse hits the nail on the head this time.

    Frank Wolf has been giving speeches lately about the threat posed by China owning over a trillion dollars of our national debt.

    Then Wolf brags about working hard to get 900 million more for metro to Dulles (actually only to Wiehle).

    When it comes to deficit spending, Frank Wolf is a fraud.

    Thanks Ed for your post.

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    In WaPo:

    “Dulles Rail Still Has Miles to Go, Hurdles to Clear”

    ….”a mandate from the Federal Transit Administration that the project stay within budget and on schedule. [and] Virginia and its neighbors address the Metro system’s nearly $500 million in unfunded capital needs.”

    “I can’t tell you how important this is,” FTA chief James S. Simpson

    “What good is adding 22 percent to the system if the system isn’t working?””

    “Metro is the nation’s only major transit system that does not have a significant source of dedicated funding, such as a portion of a sales tax.”

    Here – the plot thickens considerably:

    ” a lawsuit that challenges Virginia’s transfer of the Dulles Toll Road to the airports authority.”

    ” and another challenging the airports authority’s right to build the rail line.”

    said Patrick McSweeney, a lawyer and former chairman of the state Republican Party – “It’s a development road,” McSweeney said, “and its purpose is to encourage development and nothing else.”


    An adverse ruling from the Court could also affect plans to use HOT lane tolls for Metro and VRE.

    Of course the broader question is:

    1. – what kind of an entity can operate a toll road – i.e. is it okay for an airport authority or perhaps even METRO to operate a toll road

    2. – can the proceeds from a toll road be used for virtually any purpose or should/will it be restricted to ONLY transportation or ONLY highway transportation or ONLY the toll road itself?

    Maryland is (has already?) set up a state-wide TOLL Authority and North Carolina and other states such as Pennsylvania are pursuing the same path.

    The previous ruling on Authorities drew concern that other kinds of authorities like Regional Jail, Library and water/sewer authorities could ALSO be challenged on the same basis as the successful challenge on the Regional Transportation Authorities.

    So the whole idea/concept of using highway TOLLs to fund myriad infrastructure… perhaps even operating expenses in the case of METRO and VRE… is… rightly in public focus.

    I would think (hope) that no matter how the lawsuit turns out that the GA take action to NOT let TOLL roads in Va be used to fund ANY “developer” roads or rails….

    We’re going from the frying pan into the fire on this issue.

    This would be more of the same of taking gas tax from everyone, sending it to Richmond and then letting unelected and unaccountable folks in Richmond decide how to spend it and how McSweeney’s phrase “developer roads” already is in the vocabulary.

    Makes me wonder.. how Virginia can have other older TOLL roads like the CBBT and Powhite Parkway and APPARENTLY those revenues ARE restricted to be used only for the facility that tolls (I hope).

    If that is true.. then how was the Airport Authority allowed to do what the CBBT did not?

    The GOOD part about the lawsuit – is that it challenges the arrangement in a very public way and that at least some of the public is starting to appreciate the issue.

    If the challenge is upheld… it will force Virginia and the Wash Metro region to deal more honestly with the public.

    I strongly suspect that a sales tax for METRO – WOULD be supported by a majority of the NoVa citizens and for that matter – probably a majority would support toll road revenues to be used for the same purpose (though with major opposition also)…

    In any case, Dillion-rule Va would have to anoint whatever arrangement and .. the ire of folks like Groveton because you’ve essentially got RoVa folks .. who are somewhat clueless about NoVa and it’s needs.. deciding what they will “let” NoVa do…

    long story short – do we have confidence in Kaine and the GA that at least PART of their deliberations in Special Session will deal with this issue?

    Bonus Question: Let’s assume they will deal with it. Will they deal with it competently?

    … putting on my protective equipment .. as I await the “incoming”…

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    “We’re going from the frying pan into the fire on this issue.

    This would be more of the same of taking gas tax from everyone, sending it to Richmond and then letting unelected and unaccountable folks in Richmond decide how to spend it and how McSweeney’s phrase “developer roads” already is in the vocabulary.”



  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    While we are on the “unelected and unaccountable” theme that seems to be a lightening rod down HR/TW way ….

    there’s a little “gotcha” built in to the Regional governance issue and that is that no transportation plan nor it’s individual road projects can be built in areas designated as non-attainment by the EPA unless they are reviewed and approved as a Regional Plan.

    What that means is that the “Region” as defined by the Feds which consists of the member jurisdictions – have to agree as a regional body on a “Regional” plan to presented for air quality conformity approval.

    What I don’t know…is how the Feds and the EPA handle air quality conformity issues in areas that are not part of MPOs.. nor whether or not a member of an MPO can opt out of it – especially if the MPO area is designated as non-attainment.

    At any rate – I think the BIG issue that the GA will be discussing (besides Kaine’s push for a statewide gas tax) is … how much governance autonomy NoVa and TW/HR should have (or not) when it comes to transportation.

    It appears that NoVa wants to do it and resents having to get permission from the state.. on some decisions while HR/TW is seriously divided .. and has quite a few people who would prefer that the state handle the job.

    All of this will be hitting the fan ..starting next week and continuing into the June special session…

  5. Groveton Avatar

    If there was ever a race for political office between Frank Wolf and Kim Jong-il, I wouldn’t vote. However, I’ll vote for anybody else running against Frank Wolf.

    “When it comes to deficit spending, Frank Wolf is a fraud.”.

    Well said.

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