Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tysons Corner Craziness

Read this editorial and see if your blood pressure rises or not. While you're reading, keep in mind that this if Frank Wolf's baby more than anyone's, and that Wolf has been a major obstacle to opening this up to competition and a tunnel in Tysons.
In an act of astonishing presumption, utility relocation has already begun on the Dulles Rail project...even though the project has not yet gotten final approval from the Federal Transit Administration.  The fact that the FTA is still scrutinizing the price tag of this misbegotten project doesn't seem to faze the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is now managing it.


There are also early warning signs that this too-expensive Metrorail project will do more harm than good in Northern Virginia, literally killing Virginia's golden goose.

Instead of early birds flocking to Tysons Corner to take advantage of Dulles Rail's many supposed benefits, businesses have actually begun bailing out. More corporate tenants have left Tysons than leased office space there this year. This unexpected exodus is most likely being driven by the anticipation of five years or more of major construction chaos and tolls of up to $5 per trip to pay for it...

Nice, huh?  Where do we begin?  How about with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) managing the Metro to Dulles project?  If that's putting the proverbial foxes in charge of the proverbial chicken coop, I don't know what is.  Why is this the case?  Because MWAA has the strongest economic self-interest of anyone to have this project move forward, at everyone else's expense of course. 

To be blunt, MWAA could give a rat's you-know-what whether Metro to Dulles Airport results in chaos in Tysons Corner, or whether it prevents Tysons from ever developing into a transit-oriented model "edge city."  MWAA certainly doesn't care about whether the taxpayer gets completely fleeced by this no-bid contract to "Big Dig" Bechtel. Finally, MWAA totally doesn't care whether or not Metro gets through Tysons using the idiotic, abysmal "aerial option."  As long as Metro gets to Dulles Airport, that's all that matters to MWAA.  That's understandable from MWAA's selfish perspective, but it makes absolutely no sense for anyone who lives or works in Northern Virginia. 

Where are our "leaders" on this issue?  Either AWOL, or caving in to the brain-dead "If we don't do it now, we'll lose all our money waaaaaaahwaaaaaaah" argument.  And yes, I'm including members of both parties here.

The simple, takeaway messages here: 1) stop proceeding with this project before it is even approved (duh!!!); 2) don't approve the project at all unless the whole thing is opened up to competitive bidding; 3) don't build this 100+ year rail line at all unless it's done right (do it right or don't do it at all); and 4) stop scaring and misleading people with lies about how Congress can't do whatever the heck it wants here, so we just HAVE to take the money now or lose it forever.  Is that too much to ask from people who supposedly represent OUR interests in Richmond, Washington DC, etc? People like Frank Wolf?

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