- The Washington Times - Monday, July 29, 2002

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has threatened to introduce an amendment to a House budget bill that would prohibit the federal government from using funds to keep E Street closed behind the White House.
Mrs. Norton, a Democrat and the District's nonvoting congressional representative, has stated on the House floor that "if E Street is not reopened," she would be seeking other formal action, said Doxie McCoy, spokeswoman for Mrs. Norton.
Mrs. Norton has been struggling with Congress to reopen E Street NW since the Secret Service closed the crosstown thoroughfare for a second time after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
"One of the things that is causing traffic congestion is the closure of E Street, which takes all of the crosstown traffic in the District," Mrs. Norton said in a recent budget markup hearing on the Treasury-Postal Appropriations Bill.
The amendment to the bill would be written to restrict any further use of federal dollars to keep the road closed. But Mrs. Norton said that if necessary she would draft legislation to force the reopening.
"We have already closed Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House; we must not keep E Street closed behind the White House," Mrs. Norton said.
She said E Street makes a large contribution to expediting crosstown traffic, made up of nearly 30,000 cars a day equal to the number of cars utilizing Pennsylvania Avenue.
She said the reopening will work to curtail air pollution by keeping cars moving rather than sitting idly and allowing heavy carbon and nitrous oxide gases to collect over the city.
"Our air-quality levels must be cleared up if we are to continue building in this town," Mrs. Norton said.
E Street handles a lion's share of traffic from the region. It was closed along with Pennsylvania Avenue in 1995 for security reasons after the Oklahoma City bombing.
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Mrs. Norton fought for and won their battle to get E Street reopened in early 2001. But the street was barricaded again after September 11 by thick, unsightly barriers guarded by Secret Service agents.
Last month, the National Capital Planning Commission approved a design for creating a pedestrian thoroughfare along Pennsylvania Avenue. The design was chosen because it would allow Pennsylvania to be reopened easily in the future.
The commission unanimously voted three weeks ago to approve an $800 million urban design and security plan for the District.
Task force Chairman Richard Friedman and President Bush's appointed planning commission chairman, John V. Cogbill III, said they have recommended the reopening of E Street to the president.
"If we're not able to get hold of matters like this, then this region will be able to build nothing in terms of transportation projects no Metro and no roads," Mrs. Norton said.
Guy Taylor contributed to this report.

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