UPDATE 9/12: Kaine Backs Overhead Rail in Tysons

Updated 9/12
From today's Metro section:
Kaine Urged to Reconsider Route Rejection
WestGroup, the biggest landowner at Tysons Corner, has urged Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) to reconsider his rejection of an underground rail route through Tysons, saying a tunnel should be explored further at the same time as plans for an elevated track proceed.

In a letter to Kaine, WestGroup chairman and chief executive Gerald T. Halpin said he was "extremely disappointed" by Kaine's "stunning reversal of direction" against a tunnel. On Wednesday, Kaine ruled out a tunnel for the four-mile Tysons stretch of the Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport, after federal officials made it clear that switching to a tunnel would imperil the entire 23-mile, $4 billion project.

Two weeks ago, many had been expecting Kaine to choose an underground route, which supporters say would contribute more to Fairfax County's vision of Tysons as a walkable urban center. Helping lead the push for a tunnel was WestGroup, one of Kaine's top campaign donors and a major contributor to the rail project.

Halpin, one of the founders of Tysons Corner, wrote Kaine yesterday that the price of the project with an elevated track is sure to increase with time. Why not, he said, proceed with those plans but at the same time put a tunnel out to bid, to get a firmer price with which to compare designs? This would take only half a year and would cost no more than $7 million, which could be paid for by the private sector, Halpin said.

-- Alec MacGillis

Originally posted 9/7
In a surprise move Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) endorsed an overhead Metrorail line through Tysons corner to Dulles airport. Kaine said that plans, which included a tunnel that was controversial because of the expected costs, could jeopardize federal funding. The Posts' story on the governor's decision is here.

By Focus on Fairfax |  September 7, 2006; 7:04 AM ET  | Category:  Transportation
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