Well this is the story of the day in Fairfax County. I was very surprised to see this headline when I picked up the Post this a.m. Personally, having read the FTA’s opinion from January 25th, I did not expect to see this announcement.
I did talk to a senior Kaine administration official this morning (about the time of the conference call). He confirmed the details reported by the Post.
I asked whether the modifications made by the administration — which apparently met FTA concerns – included any review of the “above-ground” rail proposal. He told me that it did not. That is still part of the project. And looks like it will be the final design.
That is what I know. I have no idea what other changes were made or what caused the FTA to reverse course. I look foward to learning more.
What does this mean?
Obviously, the eventual approval of Dulles Rail is a major step forward for Fairfax, the largest such project since the creation of the Orange Line. The Dulles corridor greatly needed transit and it may finally get it.
However, the design (and perhaps more importantly the process) has caused a lot of dismay in communities I represent, particularly since we have been ”on the outside looking in” as the drama plays out amongst Federal bureaucrats. That frustration is not solved by today’s announcement.
We will see how it goes from here.