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
| August 31, 2010; 3:40 PM ET
Categories: Metro, Northern Virginia, Transportation Politics, Virginia, Virginia Railway Express
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