The Washington Times - December 20, 2011, 08:30AM

Virginia state and county leaders will get an update today on the cost the first phase of the multibillion-dollar Silver Line project to extend Metrorail through Tysons Corner and eventually to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County. The Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee will meet amid concerns from some that Phase I of the project, which extends Metro from Falls Church to Reston, could exceed its $2.8 billion budget by as much as $150 million, according to the Associated Press.

Four people were shot in three separate incidents in the District of Columbia within an hour Monday night, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. Two of the shootings, in Northeast and Northwest, reportedly left two men dead. The first shooting, which police said they are investigating as a possible suicide, was reported at about 5:48 p.m. near Mount Vernon Square, reports Andrea Noble of The Washington Times.


Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is expected to make a fundraising stop in Richmond on Thursday. The former House speaker is expected to appear with Gov. Bob McDonnell at a breakfast at a hotel in western Henrico County, a McDonnell spokesman told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Maryland Republicans say they still are reviewing a new state-level redistricting map, but preliminary analysis shows it protects powerful Democrats and appears to lessen some fellow GOP lawmakers’ chances for re-election. The map, which redraws the state’s 47 senatorial districts to account for population shifts in the past decade, was drafted by a committee appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley and released Friday, following months of discussion and public hearings over the summer. Still, House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell called the process “very cloaked” and “a blatant, partisan abuse of power,” reports David Hill of The Times.

A three-judge panel is scheduled to hold a hearing today in federal court in Greenbelt on a lawsuit opposing Maryland’s congressional redistricting map. The lawsuit, which was brought by nine black voters, contends that the map, approved by the Maryland General Assembly during a special session in October, dilutes the black vote in the state. The plaintiffs say the map should have included three majority-minority congressional districts instead of only two because of growth in the state’s minority population based on the 2010 census, according to the Associated Press.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and two D.C. Council members unveiled a plan Monday to overhaul the city’s taxicabs, calling it a big step toward a “world-class transportation system” for the city. Among the proposed changes would be mandating credit-card payment options, satellite navigation systems, new training for drivers and a single paint color for the city’s 5,000-plus cabs, The Washington Post reports.

A federal judge is set to get an update today in Richmond on the bankruptcy proceedings of the United States National Slavery Museum, led by former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. The museum filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. Documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in October show the museum owes creditors more than $7 million. Museum organizers originally planned to build in Richmond but chose Fredericksburg in 2002 when the city offered Mr. Wilder 38 acres along the Rappahannock River. The museum was supposed to open by 2004 but was never able to raise sufficient funds, according to the Associated Press.