- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Supporters and detractors of Rep. Frank R. Wolfs decision to halt a federal feasibility study of a Potomac River crossing north of the American Legion Bridge last night gave the Virginia Republican an earful about the so-called "Techway" bridge.
"They can study this all they want to, but the fact of the matter is, this is unachievable," said Richard Latimer of Potomac. "You cant destroy peoples homes and put a cloud on their homes for decades upon decades."
Mr. Wolf yesterday evening hosted an open house at his office in Herndon, one of several endpoints for a Techway bridge that would link Fairfax Countys high-tech area with Montgomery Countys biotech section. He displayed maps showing 20 different possible routes for the Techway, and residents got a chance to see how their homes and businesses could be affected by the bridges construction.
Mr. Latimer and about 75 other residents from both of the rivers shores saw purple lines splattered across the maps.
The routes cut through Great Falls in Virginia and Potomac in Maryland. Golf courses on either side of the river, like one in Algonkian Regional Park in Loudoun County, were targets for routes to get to a new bridge. Historic spots like the C&O; Canal and favorite spots for kayakers may have been made targets as well.
"The chances of getting that bridge built were [slim]," Mr. Wolf said.
Two weeks ago, Mr. Wolf asked the Federal Highway Administration to cancel the $2 million study he had attached to an appropriations bill last fall. Sources familiar with the study said the highway administration already had spent more than $500,000 when Mr. Wolf asked for the study to be canceled.
The 11-term congressman asked for the study to end after seeing maps and aerial photos with dots showing where a new bridge could land and lines showing neighborhoods and parks that would be affected on both sides of the Potomac.
He has said that when he first began his endeavor for a study, the maps he had showed open spaces in Maryland and Virginia. But many of those maps, he said, reflected the areas landscape of five years ago and much development has taken place since then.
"I can see why some people got excited," said Mike Meegan of Great Falls.
Justin McNaull, a spokesman for the AAAs Mid-Atlantic region, was one of the few on hand who still say a study needs to be done. "Stopping the study doesnt fix our transportation problems," Mr. McNaull said.
Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III, a Republican and Techway supporter, has urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta to reverse the highway administrations decision.
While Mr. Mineta is reported to have said he would "keep an open mind," congressional sources said that Mr. Minetas silence on the issue "speaks volumes" and that bridge supporters should not anticipate a reversal of the highway administrations decision, which would essentially defy Mr. Wolfs wishes.
Virginia has $400,000 set aside for a bridge study, and John Mason, chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, said his group might consider conducting a study. But that will only happen if Maryland contributes.

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