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Connolly samples commutes

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va) rode the Virginia Railway Express Tuesday morning as part of his efforts to highlight the transportation choices and challenges Northern Virginia commuters face on a daily basis.

Connolly, who took the commuter train from Broad Run to Crystal City, said the ride was part of his broader efforts to draw attention to transportation needs in the area and what constituents go through to get to work daily. Connolly said he has also taken the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission's commuter bus, rode 'slug' lines and shared a ride with a driver from Bristow into the District on what a Census Bureau report said last year is the longest average commute in the country.

Connolly, who won an open congressional seat in 2008, is in the midst of a tough reelection campaign. Come November, Connolly will face Republican Keith Fimian in a fight for the 11th District congressional seat.

"The lifestyle choices we have to make are hard on family and quality of life," he said. "I wanted, when not in session, to bring it to reality what my constituents face everyday."

Connolly said the state needs to come up with more funding for transportation infrastructure. Connolly also said he wants to ensure commuters have options and he will continue to support bike lanes, rail, bus, telecommuting and other strategies that will mitigate congestion on roads.

"My goal is to create and foster choices for commuters," he said. "Congestion won't go away as long as D.C. remains a place people want to live and work; but, I think we can create choices."

VRE Chief Executive Dale Zehner joined Connolly on Tuesday's morning ride to hear from passengers. While many said they were happy with service, others pointed out the delays that plagued the system this summer, often due to mechanical issues. Others said there needs to be more parking at some VRE lots. VRE officials said the mechanical problems should slow as now they have more people working in the maintenance yard. With parking, the issue is a lack of funding, VRE officials said.

-- Jennifer Buske

By Michael Bolden  | August 31, 2010; 3:40 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Northern Virginia, Transportation Politics, Virginia, Virginia Railway Express  
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Stay off Metro, Connely. There's no room for your fat a$$.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 31, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

So, Mr. Connolly is riding a train to see how the other half lives and that's supposed to qualify him for re-election? How many Townhalls has he had--how many questions answered? Answer--none. In the Republic a politician is obligated to at listen to his constituents, but Mr.Connolly doesn't like that part of the job so he just doesn't do it. What he has done is make our "life style choices" more expensive and more difficult, while spending future generations into a bottomless hole. I happily anticipate that Mr. Connolly will soon have unlimited time to ride the rails, while VA's 11th CD gets serious and talented leadership with Keith Fimian. Then we can actually stop digging and perhaps even solve our transportation problems.

Posted by: lleatwo | September 1, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

It's touching that Rep. Gerald Connolly is concerned enough about my commute that he ventures out of the hallowed halls of Congress where his hiding place is so secure. Had he wanted to make this constituent's life a little better he could have taken some of my many concerns seriously instead of blowing me off at every opportunity, by email, face-to-face,and phone.

Posted by: mirabeaulamarr | September 1, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I'd be more impressed if did all this "research" after Labor Day when the commuting gets bad.

Posted by: ceebee2 | September 1, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

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