Perhaps the most obvious Stuff White People Like infrastructure project in America is extending the Washington D.C. Metrorail out to Dulles Airport. Right now, when you arrive at Dulles you have to get on a bus (and you know how much SWPLs hate buses), which takes you to the end of the line for the subway (you know how much SWPLs love public transit that isn't a bus). It's a hassle. Fortunately, today the Washington Post has the exciting news that the last hurdle has been overcome so we'll all be riding the subway to Dulles Real Soon Now:
Federal regulators have approved a long-awaited extension of Metrorail to Tysons Corner and Dulles International Airport, virtually assuring construction of a $5.2 billion project that regional leaders say is crucial to ease congestion and spur economic growth in Northern Virginia.Read that again: "a project that state, federal and airport officials have planned for more than 40 years." That's back to LBJ's heyday.
By signing off on the project, the Federal Transit Administration reversed its position of almost a year ago, when its regulators declared Dulles rail unqualified to receive $900 million in federal funding, citing cost overruns, delays and concerns about management. The project now heads to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and the Office of Management and Budget for final approval. But the transit agency's action is widely viewed as a critical achievement that essentially guarantees the federal funding. Without it, the project would have died, state and regional officials said.
"We've been pushing this boulder up the hill for years," said U.S. Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.). "This is one of the best examples in my 30 years here of bipartisanship achieving an end result that benefits the entire greater Washington metropolitan area."
The reversal caps 11 months of frantic activity by the region's top politicians, who have steadfastly pressured Peters and even the White House to keep alive a project that state, federal and airport officials have planned for more than 40 years.
Fortunately, now, it's Full Steam Ahead:
The first phase of the rail line, for which Virginia is seeking the federal money, would have four stations at Tysons Corner and end at Wiehle Avenue in Reston. It is scheduled for completion in 2013. The second phase, to the airport and into Loudoun, is expected to be done two years after that.So, assuming it's finished right on schedule (which is a big assumption), connecting the DC subway to the DC airport will only have taken 47 years.