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Alexandria: Va. should pay Metro match

The Alexandria City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to endorse a transportation panel's position that Virginia provide Metro with $50 million, the state's share of a match required for the federal government to provide $150 million for capital spending on rail cars and safety improvements.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell has threatened to withhold the money unless the state is allowed to appoint two Virginia members to Metro's board of directors because he has said he is concerned about the way the transit system is run and its safety record. The first $12.5 million of Virginia's share is due July 1. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission appoints two principal and two alternate members to Metro's board. The four seats are now held by elected officials from Alexandria and Fairfax and Arlington counties.

Mayor William D. Euille said that he opposes McDonnell's request until the commonwealth provides 100 percent of Virginia's Metro funding, like the District and Maryland already do. In Virginia, each locality pays according to the size of the system in their city or county.

"We've all said we'll give up our seats if Virginia pays 100 percent of the costs," Euille said. "'Well, they [Virginia transportation officials] don't want to do that."
The governor first raised the issue in May on WTOP Radio.

"This is a shakedown, ladies and gentlemen," said Vice Mayor Kerry Donley. Donley said that the governor's action is putting riders at risk and jeopardizing the entire funding agreement.

The federal government has agreed to provide $1.5 billion to Metro over the next 10 years as long as the District, Maryland and Virginia provide matching funds.

The Alexandria council also unanimously voted to fund more than $62 million in capital improvements over the next six years for Metro.

The majority of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors also agreed at their Tuesday meeting to send a letter to the governor urging him to honor the capital match payments.

Rick Taube, executive director of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, said that members have clearly said the governor should keep the state's commitments to Metro "that according to the previous secretary of transportation were legally binding."

The commission is scheduled to meet next on July.1.

-- Christy Goodman

By Michael Bolden  | June 23, 2010; 4:32 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Northern Virginia  
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In other news, I just voted unanimously that the city of Alexandria should pay me $1 million.

What's that, you say? Alexandria doesn't care what I think? I bet the VA State Assembly cares similarly about what Alexandria thinks.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | June 23, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

This would be more productive if everyone just voted that the money-printing federal government should fund it all.

Posted by: fireball72 | June 23, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

You know what Virginia, Metro should turn trains around at the Potomac River until the money comes.

Posted by: mamaspearl | June 24, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

I agree w/ Bob McDonnell withholding funds from Metro. First of all given the fact that most of Virginia's portion of the expansion of the Silver line is coming off the backs of us Dulles Toll Road users is enough. Let's not forget the ever increasing Metro fare hikes that do nothing to improve service or safety. That troll Jim Graham seems to think it's ok that NVA riders of Metro shouldn't be upset w/ increases (parking, train, etc). They have more $$$$ and folks in the District are poor and shouldn't have to bone up more $$$$. I think it's about time to evaluate Metro management as well as the Goverment entities running it and really F*CKING it up!!!

Posted by: MP5N | June 24, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

If McDonnell wants commerce and business in NoVA (his cash cow) to come to a screeching halt, not funding Metro is a perfect way to go about attaining that dream. WTF is he thinking??!!

Posted by: ms1234 | June 24, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

WTF is he thinking? He's thinking that the state of Virginia gets zero input for the millions of dollars they contribute.

Then again, they're a bunch of chicken shack rednecks, so who cares?

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 24, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

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