- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 24, 2001

Noble: Rep. Bob Barr for insisting that the Metro system change its signs to reflect reality.

"Washington National Airport" became "Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport" more than three years ago, thanks to a law signed by then-President Bill Clinton. Yet the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which has charge of the Metro system, still hasn't changed the Metro signs and maps to reflect the new name.

While it seems redundant to rail against Metro, it is true that if Metro's signs did reflect reality, they would contain warnings about endless delays, Third World-style crowding at rush hour, and safety problems that would give nightmares to any local safety engineers.

However, there is no good reason for this particular delay. While WMATA General Manager Richard A. White estimated the cost to change signs, literature and maps at about $400,000, WMATA recently found $900 million to build five new stations, and has also managed to find funding to reflect several other recent name changes the new moniker of U Street Station on the Green Line is now "U St./African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo."

In an all-too-ironic turnabout, Mr. Barr is now threatening to cause Metro delays by holding up future funding until the maps are correct. While commuters probably won't notice, bureaucrats may, and that just might be enough to get the name change moving.

Knaves: The Democrats who are holding up the above-mentioned corrections in Metro signs.

One of the reasons that the Metro signs to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport haven't been changed is that local Democrats who represent the area are moving more slowly than most Metro station escalators.

Arlington County Board Democrat Christopher E. Zimmerman, who represents the jurisdiction on which Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport sits, has not formally requested the name change and seems to have no intention of doing so, even though he has supported similar requests in other jurisdictions. He called the change "frivolous," since the name change wouldn't provide any more information about the station's location.

With that logic in mind, perhaps Mr. Zimmerman would approve changing his name to reflect his street address and changing the name of the "The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts," to "The 2700 F Street NW Center."

Besides, if Democrats ever regain control of Congress, "Ronald Reagan" will be dropped from the airport's name, according to the expressed wishes of the district's representative, Jim Moran. Apparently, Mr. Moran finds it far less objectionable to procure large unsecured loans from lobbyists, since that is simply one of the many liberties with the law which he has taken that is already a matter of public record.

The proper names of public officials, and public buildings, should be reflected in public documents. Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Moran should allow the same for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

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