Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tom Davis' Metro Deal

Rep. Tom Davis, a Fairfax County Republican, is dangling a $1.5 billion infusion of cash in front of Metro managers to help them maintain tracks and trains and deal with overcrowding. The offer - which no other transit system would get - comes with strings. Davis wants Metro to hire an inspector general and add two seats to its board for federal representatives.

Oh yeah - he also slipped in 31 words in the bill he plans to introduce that would forbid Metro from selling the 3.7 acres it owns next to the Vienna Metro station, thus scuttling the massive MetroWest project proposed by developer Pulte Homes, which is seeking county approval for 2250 homes, offices and stores, says the Washington Post.

Davis says he's worried about high density in an area already crowded with cars. Notwithstanding the arguments in favor of transit-oriented development, and the idea of a member of Congress interfering with a local land-use decision, Davis' critics have also accused him of opposing the project because it could bring more urban-loving Democrats to his district.


At 9:39 AM, Anonymous SDH4VBT said...

The bill also requires a dedicated state revenue source for Metro, perhaps a piece of the sales tax or an additional regional gas tax surcharge (on top of the 2 percent they already pay in NoVa.) That will be a hard sell in the General Assembly as a stand alone proposal, I would think.

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

Wow. Could this bill be any more screwed up?

At 4:06 PM, Blogger subpatre said...

You've got to have some sympathy for opposing the construction of a liberal-magnet. :)

With mismanagement of nearly $1 billion, bad service and critical safety problems. Something's needed to get it back on track. (bad pun alert)

Metro needs sufficient and reliable funding; it needs oversight and it needs to run more responsibly. This bill addresses all the issues very well. Metro gets the funds only if it:
1)Hires an inspector general (addresses auditing, service, safety, and accountability)
2)Adds two seats to the Metro board of directors for federal representatives (addresses accountability)
3)The service region creates a dedicated source of money for Metro (addresses auditing and overcrowding), which needs approval of
a)Maryland legislature
b)Virginia legislature
c)D.C. Council
This third part might be a 'hard sell', but would guarantee stable funding over the long-term.

It's perfectly legitimate to fund Metro on the condition they not ruin areas around the stations. Three bill-riders restrict how Metro sells the land around some stations isn't surprising. They all have different wording but Republican Davis' is similar to Democrat Van Hollen's and Democrat Wynn's riders. Oh dear, there goes the "evil Republican" conspiracy theory!

At 11:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live about a mile from the Vienna Metro. I don't really think Davis is interfering with the project to keep Democrats out. It's just old fashioned pandering. I understand the concerns of many of those in the neighborhood. However, the development is not going to be stopped. The alternatives are a forward-looking, urban style development integrated with the Metro or a mediocre development only marginally connected to Metro like other nearby parcels.

At 6:10 PM, Blogger MR JMS said...

If we are going to focus on the use of mass transit in Northern Virginia then we need to begin to develop such a culture. The mixed development, much like the proposal near the Woodbridge VRE station scuttled by the PWC Board, will help to begin developing such a mindset amongst the more stable communities in the region.

It seems to me that mindset only exist within the youthful and single work force inside the beltway. Some would call these people Yuppies.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

"Davis says he's worried about high density in an area already crowded with cars."

The arguments in favor of transit oriented development have never been proven. Here is perfect chance to do so.

Quick, let's write a grant proposal to do intensive before and after traffic studies and at least add one data point to the argument.

One of the prime features of the Teas Transportation Study was the observation that there is not enough data to do more than gross level analysis.

At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An "attaboy" to Tom Davis for: a) having the common sense to tell WMATA to mind their operations and stop selling their land for short-term gain; b) "interfering" in local land use decision making that is flawed and certainly unduly influenced by campaign contributers; c) recognizing that it's a bit late for transit-oriented development in the wide-open suburban half of Fairfax County; d) hooking up with like-minded Democrats; and e) listening to his constituents and understanding which ones constitute the majority. The man's brilliant.

At 8:02 AM, Blogger MR JMS said...

F) Requiring a TAX INCREASE.


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