Tysons Tunnel: Tedious Turbulent Tumultuous Transportation Transformation Trials and Tribulations

Is anyone else confused about the whole entire Tysons Tunnel debate.  The basic issue is whether to have the tunnel above or below ground

There are multiple studies with multiple timelines and multiple costs.  Some studies say the tunnel is cheaper and faster, others say an above-ground option would be cheaper and faster.

As a backdrop to all of this there is 900 million of federal funding hanging in the balance.

Here is the latest info I could find

Governor Kaine

You could call it a mixed signal, or you could call it just kind-of–just kind-of human nature.  There is the–perfect is the enemy of the good, as President Kennedy used to say. I would like it if money were a–no object and we were starting this thing from scratch. I would like a new tunnel. I said the reason I delayed is you can see the advantages of a tunnel. But, I’m assuming when everybody approved this aerial route, they thought the aerial route was OK–they think the tunnel might be better, but now people are saying, ‘oh, the aerial route is so bad.’ Well, gosh. Loudoun and Fairfax considered a tunnel originally and decided the aerial route was the best way to do it. The landowners in Tysons signed petitions by the thousands to create a special tax district around the notion of that aerial route. So, one of the questions I have is: why was this thing so good a year ago and now it’s suddenly so awful, and it hadn’t changed? But, again, the long-term goal that I am pursuing–I want to get rail to Dulles–that’s the goal. I don’t want to have–I don’t want to have a great, perfect plan on a shelf that doesn’t get built. I want to get rail to Dulles. It is still very much in the locality’s hands. If they want to change the design, I will respect their wishes, but the word we’ve gotten from the FTA is we put federal funding at risk if we do that. 

Wow talk about political speak Kaine is the ultimate politician

Matthew Tucker

“The commonwealth has made its decision” for an elevated track, said Matthew Tucker, director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. “The people proposing a tunnel are really talking about more delays, more uncertainty and more planning. Every month we are delayed costs another $4 million.”

Mr Tucker seems to have made up his mind.  I have some concerns with his actions of late however. 

Rep Wolf and Rep Davis

“Transportation relief has been our goal since Day One,” said Dan Scandling, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican. “Everyone wants a tunnel. The question is, is it worth the risk?”
    Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican, said the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors “missed the boat on this when they originally approved an elevated track.”
    The federal money could be lost with the underground rail because of delays and the Federal Transit Administration’s finding that it would not be cost-efficient, Mr. Davis said. 

More concerns about the federal funding piece from the congressman

Dr Gridlock

Here’s what I think: The rail line will not be built without the $900 million in federal funding. It’s tricky — and I think too tricky — to try to go for a tunnel rather than an elevated at this late stage.

If the whole project out to Dulles actually gets done at the current cost estimate of $4 billion, no one will be more surprised than me. It’s going to be one of the most costly transportation projects in the nation. If we lived somewhere else, we’d call it a boondoggle project, like that bridge to nowhere in Alaska.

I have to say Dr. Gridlock is my personal favorite.  As a fiscal conservative this project should never happen.

The bottom line currently is that the Metro Transportation board is going to commission their own study.  This study will try and figure out if federal funding would be at risk under different scenarios

Thats my personal opinion too.  Get all the facts if federal funding stays with the tunnel option its a no brainer.  If federal funding goes away we need open debate and dialogue about what to do.  The actions of Mr Tucker to steamrole the process seem very shady.  

Is it too late to be talking about Bus Rapid Transit instead of Rail.  Faster, Cheaper AND more efficient.  Why don’t we do that?

Sources:

http://www.tysonstunnel.org/ (Very pro tunnel site but all the original links are there including a letter highlighting some actions by Mr. Tucker)

www.washingtonpost.com 

   

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~ by novamiddleman on March 11, 2007.

One Response to “Tysons Tunnel: Tedious Turbulent Tumultuous Transportation Transformation Trials and Tribulations”

  1. Check out my blog for lots of info that cuts through the crap and lies about the tunnel.

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