- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2001

Metros board today will likely torpedo a request by a House Republican to rename the subway stop at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and a proposal to add "Taxation Without Representation" plates to the transit agencys buses, sources close to the board say.
Board members who had supported the two measures today will vote against attempts by U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia to change the Metro stops name, and by Metro board member Jim Graham to change the buses plates, the sources said.
"Both will go down, " one source close to the board said.
Sources did not provide specific names of the six members who would vote against the two measures. But board member Dana Kauffman, a Democratic Fairfax County supervisor, has stated his opposition to putting new plates on the buses.
The other voting board member from Virginia — Arlington County Supervisor Christopher E. Zimmerman — has been an outspoken critic of Mr. Barrs effort to change the airport stations name.
And from the tone of comments by three board members — Chairman Decatur W. Trotter, Mr. Kauffman and Mr. Zimmerman — it seems the transit agencys main oversight panel will reject both proposals.
"I think its fair to say neither issue should be before the board, " Mr. Trotter, a Democrat and former Maryland state senator, said yesterday. " we will see to what degree we will resist that and most certainly, regardless of how the vote comes out, were going to make a statement in reference to political intrusion in our process."
Because Metro is in the heart of the nations capital, Mr. Trotter said, "people tend to take political issues and try to infuse them into our thought process, and we have to resist that."
Mr. Trotter referenced a report in yesterdays edition of The Washington Times that said 21 House Republicans signed a letter supporting Mr. Barrs efforts to change the airport stations name, saying he understands they "hold the purse."
"Even though the name change is important, were not certain in terms of priorities that is the most important," Mr. Trotter said.
Mr. Zimmerman said he agreed with Mr. Trotter. "His point is well taken. Our business is running trains and buses and we really need to be sure we dont become a vehicle for really just partisan fights," he said. "And have everybody let us concentrate ."
"Ill be working to keep both local and national partisan politics out of the mix," said Mr. Kauffman. "We are a regional committee, neither a local or a national committee."
Mr. Kauffman said he wants to make sure "short-term politics" do not supersede long-term concerns about how the transit agencys board operates.
Congress approved the name of the new airport in 1997, and the change took effect the following year on Feb. 6 — Mr. Reagans birthday.
Mr. Barr reiterated his belief that the name change is not about politics but about Metro following the law.
"Since the airport name was changed in a 1998 law signed by President Clinton, Metro has changed all the signs throughout the entire system seven times," he said. "Yet the lawful name of the airport has not been recognized by Metro."
Mr. Graham, who sponsored the "Taxation" plate proposal, said he has heard of no efforts to kill his plan, saying that all he is asking is to put the official D.C. license plates on Metrobuses registered in the District.
"I believe there will be the votes for it, " said Mr. Graham, a Ward 1 Democrat who sits on the D.C. Council. "I think there is an important principle here."
The Times first reported last month that Mr. Barr had sent a letter to Mr. White threatening to withhold federal funding for Metro if the transit agency did not change the stations name and any other literature, signs or maps to reflect the change.
After Metro officials said the makeover of literature and signs systemwide would cost the transit agency $400,000, Mr. Barr sent another letter to Mr. White saying he would compromise and request Metro only change the signs at the airport.
Metro would be required to make the name change on all maps, literature and signs throughout its entire system when the Red Lines New York Avenue Station, for whose construction Congress appropriated $75 million, is completed in 2004.
Making the name change at the station alone would cost about $150,000 and would have to come from Metros operating-funds budget.
Some members in Congress, which provided about $189 million as part of this years capital budget for Metro, are growing weary of Metros foot-dragging.
"This is not, nor should it be, a partisan political issue. Many of us in Congress hope the Metro board will stop playing politics with this issue and do the right thing by recognizing the lawful name of the airport," Mr. Barr said.
But Mr. Trotter and other board members did not sound concerned that Congress would withhold funds from Metro.

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