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January 26, 2008

Comments

I'll take the wager, not because I don't agree, but because I think Democrats are backboned enough to get to the bottom of this.

Maybe it was because is 7 billion dollars behind in maintenance costs, because metro keeps raising fees and has huge ridership but manages to loses hundred of millions, and that all of the studies showed that it would make traffic much worse in Tysons and places west and that very few people would endure the two hours it would take to go from Dulles to Downtown DC.

Metro, run by Democrats, has demonstrated itself to be a poorly run money loser even with all of its natural advantages.

Unfortunately I think part of the explanation may be the woeful state of Metro. It's become nearly unusable on the weekends, with huge delays, even on the red line, which has always been the best, and there are far too many problems during the week. It's not unreasonable to believe that the current system would not be able to handle a Dulles line.

The main problem with Metro used to be the constantly broken escalators (I assume someone's brother-in-law got the contract for installing and maintaining them), but in recent years everything else has fallen apart as well.

I hasten to add that I don't believe Metro's problems are connected with superdestroyer's partisan hobbyhorse, and the idea that a transportation system is supposed to be a money maker is an unusual one, to say the least. (Also, I have no idea where the figure of 2 hours comes from.)

Some discussion from Virginia Democrats. It's not just a Democrat-vs.-Republican battle, and it's complicated by people who wanted underground rail.

I was, honestly, amazed that they had ever decided on the elevated plan rather than the tunnel, cost differences and timelines aside. I really could foresee an elevated train running through Tysons being a complete nightmare. But it still would have been better than nothing. (Although if you were willing to risk the ticket for being in the express lanes without going to the airport, Dulles traffic wasn't all that bad. ;) )

How is this going to affect the Tysons redevelopment plans with all the mixed-use stuff they wanted to do there? Wasn't some of that contingent on Metro access? (I only ever went to Tysons if dragged there, so it's of purely academic interest.)

I'm just glad I'm got gone before the mixed-use development planned at Vienna destroys access to and traffic on 66 once and for all.

Another reason why Virginia Republicans are getting killed on this is their refusal to take part in an agreement brokered by NoVA Republican Congressman Tom Davis, which would have given Metro a sizeable Federal grant, the proceeds of which were to use toward capital improvements, provided that Maryland, DC, and Virginia matched it. Maryland and DC raised their share of the match; guess who didn't?

Without this "nest egg" in place, Metro has little ability to adjust to increases in expenses and unanticipated costs except by raising faresand/or cutting service and maintenance. Not a way to run a railroad, and we can thank Virginia's down-state Republicans for it.

It will be interesting to see how this affects the elections for the two Republican congressmen in northern Virginia -- Tom Davis (who many think will not be running for reelection, making his seat an excellent pickup opportunity for the Democrats) and Frank Wolf (who's facing a second challenge from Judy Feder, though that's definitely an uphill battle for her).

The West Falls Church-IAD rail link was and is a billion dollar boondoggle from day one. It's 20 miles, all freeway from the WFC Metro to IAD, 25 minutes. The current bus service is an overpriced joke. It runs only once every half hour. Who wants to wait 30 minutes for a 25 minute trip. Open up the WFC metro and IAD to any cabs/vans that want to take passengers. At WFC, require any cab with 2 or more passengers to leave after each Metro train going west, cap the price at $7. The promoters of the rail link made estimates of how many thousands of people would use a quick, frequent service. The same passengers are availible for quick frequent cheap cab rides. At IAD, have a designated spot going to WFC. Cabbies would flock to it, to make $14 to $28 (more if its a van) for a 25 minute trip. Publicize the system so people would know about it. What's wrong with free enterprise? The system could go into effect immediately.

Of course, no one has mention that the studies have shown that it would actually make traffic in places like Tysons worse than it is today. for every person who would be riding the metro to Tysons, Teston, Dulles area, several people would be driving. The Democrats in change of Fairfax have never been able to match development with transportation infrastructure. In the in, the development would overwhelm the transporation infrastrucutre and make traffic worse.

Also, given that the head of the Fairfax Government insisted that the metro have a station in front of his employers buildings.

Given the massive overruns of the new baseball stadium in DC, is was a certainity that the metro line would face massive cost overruns and be behind schedule.

Also, given that the head of the Fairfax Government insisted that the metro have a station in front of his employers buildings.

What are you talking about, here? I used to live a 5-minute walk from the Fairfax Cty. Government Center, and I think I would have remembered a Metro station there.

The Democrats in change of Fairfax have never been able to match development with transportation infrastructure.

This is largely a zoning/density restriction problem. Just about everything that's gone up in, say, the Fair Oaks area in the last ten years is garden-style apartments of 3-4 floors, with the exception of the condos at Fairfax County Parkway and Fair Lakes Rd., and even those are a mix of single-family condos with a, what, 8- or 10-floor building?

Not being able to build high-rise, high-density living throughout Ffx Cty drives up prices and results in the sprawl that the transportation infrastructure can't keep up with. Or in this ill-fated Vienna development project, which none of the residents wanted but the county commission insisted on, and which is going to make a lot of people miserable. Orange Line trains leaving Vienna every morning leave pretty much full from 7-10, and the parking lots are full by 7:30. Adding a bunch of mixed-use development right on top of the Metro is only going to make it worse, and if they're never going to be able to add 8-car trains, they're never going to keep up.

All of which is why I'm glad I moved.

The real problem is that the transportation infrastructure for the Washington DC area is under four jurisdictions (VA, DC, MD, and Congress), and none of them are coordinated or seem to care very much about making it good. Which is why Metro keeps being underfunded and costing more.

Phil: Thank you for your comments here. It opened my eyes a bit.

Nate, the obvious answer is for DC and the surrounding counties of Maryland and Virginia to become a state.

What are you talking about, here? I used to live a 5-minute walk from the Fairfax Cty. Government Center, and I think I would have remembered a Metro station there.

I think he's talking about Connelly being employed by SAIC, whose complex is co-located with one of the proposed new stations in Tysons....

Some items:

The Washington Flier taxi company is another player here. They have a monopoly of taxi service out of Dulles and will go to any lengths to keep it. They'd be the one most hurt by opening up Dulles.

Rep vs Dem: A push. This is definitely a nonpartisan cl*st*rf*ck. Congress (especially the rural representatives from Big Square States) gets a special pleasure out of jerking DC around.

The way buses are routed convinces me that whoever sets bus routes never rides on one. Same thing goes for any other way to get around the DC metro area. Perhaps they're brains in vats? Martians?

KCinDC re statehood: *Way* too sensible.

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