- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 7, 2011

THE METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON AIRPORTS AUTHORITY is facing mounting pressure to revisit its decision in favor of an underground Metro station at Washington Dulles International Airport, after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood issued cost-cutting recommendations that include building a cheaper above-ground alternative, The Washington Times reports.

Mr. LaHood’s recommendation takes the side of Fairfax and Loudoun counties in an ongoing dispute over where to build the new station. Concerned about paying their own share of the project, county officials want the MWAA to opt for an above-ground station that will cost $300 million less than the below-ground station the board approved in April. Mr. LaHood recently met with the MWAA and government officials and directed them to spend 30 days seeking a compromise. On Wednesday, several members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors expressed concern over paying for the garages but seemed supportive of the overall plan. Fairfax officials will meet Tuesday to discuss Mr. LaHood’s memo.

VIRGINIA GOV. BOB MCDONNELL’S REPUBLICAN POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE received 57 checks worth $10,000 or more for a total of about $1.4 million from April through June. Second-quarter campaign finance reports, which major donors must file promptly, show that about half of the sum came from the coal and energy industry and from the real estate and development sector, according to the Associated Press. The totals, compiled and analyzed by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, don’t reflect hundreds of lesser donations that Mr. McDonnell’s PAC, Opportunity Virginia, won’t disclose until next Friday.

SENS. JIM WEBB AND MARK WARNER have introduced legislation to lift a moratorium on drilling off the Virginia coast enacted by President Obama after last year’s oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. The bill from the Virginia Democrats would allow oil and natural gas exploration and production and direct half of any leasing revenues to be paid to Virginia to support a range of projects including land and water conservation, clean-energy development, transportation and other infrastructure improvements in the state, according to The Washington Times.

VIRGINIA DEMOCRATS will hold their first-ever summit next week as the party prepares for crucial elections this year and next, according to The Washington Post. The event July 15-16 at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond is sponsored by the Democratic Party of Virginia, Organizing for America and the Virginia Young Democrats. It will include policy briefings on health care, education, national security, energy and the environment; a training session on how to develop and communicate a “powerful” message, run an effective local Democratic committee and recruit and retain political volunteers; and discussions about making the choice to run for office.

MARYLAND’S GROWING POPULATION and changing demographics will have a major impact on new congressional and state legislative maps to be drawn in coming months, an advisory committee picked by Gov. Martin O’Malley said Wednesday. The new districts must have roughly identical populations in a state that has seen substantial, but uneven, growth over the past decade, The Washington Times reports. Maryland’s population has grown by 9 percent since the 2000 census, to nearly 5.8 million residents. The five-member committee will give its recommendations to Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, who will submit his own proposal to state lawmakers charged with redrawing Maryland’s eight congressional and 47 state legislative districts. The governor and the lawmakers begin the process in October.

THE MAN WHO ATTACKED A SPEED-CAMERA VEHICLE on Wednesday remains at large. The man, dressed in a flannel shirt and wielding a shotgun and a hammer, attacked a vehicle mounted with speed cameras that was parked along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, causing major traffic delays and a manhunt that continued into the night, according to The Washington Times.

THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA‘S FIREARMS POLICY doesn’t forbid people with concealed-carry permits from bringing their guns into university buildings, according to state Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, according to the Charlottesville Daily Progress. In a July 1 official advisory opinion, Mr.  Cuccinelli said he does believe UVa.’s policy can prohibit people from openly carrying firearms in buildings. Mr. Cuccinelli took a look at UVa.’s policy at the request of Sen. Emmet W. Hanger Jr., Augusta Republican. According to the opinion, Mr. Hanger asked about the legality of UVa.’s firearms policy.