Cuccinelli puts Metro extension to Dulles on notice

Says he’s not open to covering project’s cost overruns

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II says he’s not inclined to put any additional state money into Metro’s 23-mile extension to Washington Dulles International Airport absent proof the dollars would be spent wisely.

“I expect this thing to stay on and under budget now, and I would not be particularly open to pouring more money in unless they’re willing to come back with a study — that would be a miracle — that demonstrated cost-effectiveness of those dollars,” he said.

Transportation has been a defining issue in the Virginia governor’s race between Mr. Cuccinelli, a Republican, and Terry McAuliffe, a businessman and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. McAuliffe consistently touts his support for both the Metro extension, known as the Silver Line, and a $6 billion compromise transportation package the state legislature passed this year.

Mr. Cuccinelli opposed the final product because of the tax increases it contained and issued an eleventh-hour legal opinion that nearly derailed its passage. But he has said he would not work to undo any of it if elected.

Mr. McAuliffe’s campaign declined to answer whether he supports additional state money for Dulles rail. About $300 million for the project is baked into the transportation bill he reportedly worked the phones to help pass during this year’s legislative session.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, signed off on an additional $150 million last year for the second leg of the $6 billion project, which will extend from East Falls Church through Dulles and into Loudoun County.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is overseeing the project, being financed by revenues collected on the Dulles Toll Road, as well as contributions from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Money from the state and the federal government is also being used to defray the total cost.

“One of the things I liked about the Silver Line is that Fairfax and Loudoun had a say. Really, they each had a veto, at least on the financing side,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “I think that’s a real plus.

Mr. Cuccinelli said one of his goals is to “decentralize” transportation projects administered in Richmond.

“We’re one of the most centralized states in the whole country, probably one of the four most, but if you’ve got a local project like that, and it is a local project like that, my position is going to be, ‘They’re responsible for that.’”

The candidate on Monday revealed more details of a broader transportation agenda that followed on that theme, involving a nudge toward devolution, or allowing localities to assume more responsibility — and costs — of building and maintaining roads.

Mr. Cuccinelli’s transportation plan calls for a “phased-in” approach to devolution. Local governments will be given more control over transportation projects, but “they will have to abide by VDOT’s statewide standards for safety and procurement.”

Starting with the state’s largest counties, such as Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun and Chesterfield, the state will administer block grants equal to what is currently spent on secondary roads, while using a new matrix to identify projects that will provide the greatest congestion relief.

Cities in Virginia, along with Arlington and Henrico counties, build and maintain their own secondary road systems. A population floor of 100,000 would be established for small counties that have neither the personnel nor the resources to maintain secondary roads at this time, according to the plan.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • The District of Columbia has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

    D.C. police quietly prepping for change in law on marijuana

  • D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate David Catania, at large independent, said that although he had some concerns with the city's fiscal 2015 budget, namely the 'yoga tax,' he said issues could be addressed in next year's budget discussions. (Associated Press)

    Council overrides mayor’s veto of fiscal 2015 budget

  • 3 killed, 4 wounded Sunday in three D.C. shootings

  • D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser, one of seven Democrats trying to unseat the incumbent District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in next week's primary, campaigns on Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, Thursday, March 27, 2014. Loyalists are rallying around the mayor, and few are writing him off. But his troubles have provided an opening for one of his challengers, and D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser appears to be taking advantage. Two polls released a week before the primary showed Bowser in a statistical tie with Gray.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    Crime hits close to home for D.C. mayoral candidate

  • Gray

    D.C. Council to vote on Gray’s budget veto