- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 13, 2002

Local members of Congress supporting the region's bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games say the Games would bring more than $5 billion in economic development, 70,000 new jobs and railroad access to Washington Dulles International Airport.
That's "the reason we're doing this," says Rep. James P. Moran. "The Olympics should give us a little more momentum to finish our transportation goals, like a rail line to Dulles."
Mr. Moran, Virginia Democrat, yesterday joined nine other members from Maryland and Virginia and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton at the U.S. Capitol to sign a resolution galvanizing support of the Washington/Baltimore two-city team bid for the Olympics.
The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) will trim the field of domestic candidate cities from four to two this summer. In November the committee will pick a final U.S. candidate to compete in a three-year global competition before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) picks the 2012 host in 2005. Other likely bidders include Toronto, Moscow and Paris.
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams has said he will "be moving heaven and Earth" to impress USOC officials scheduled to visit the region on June 28 and 29. The officials later this summer will visit Houston, New York and San Francisco the other three cities in the running.
The issue of rail access to Dulles will be key in winning support from the IOC if the Washington/Baltimore team becomes the U.S. finalist for the Games, according to Dan Knise, president and executive director of the Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition, the group organizing the local bid.
Mr. Knise said one of the international groups carrying weight with the IOC is the Europeans, and they can't figure out how a major airport such as Dulles has no rail line going to it.
The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board has a long-term development plan calling for a rail line to connect Dulles to the District by 2010. But officials say budget woes in Virginia over the past two years have made the goal unrealistic, pushing back the projected completion date to 2015 or later.
"If we got the Olympics, it would make people feel that completing this now was even more important," said planning board spokesman Gerald Miller.
In addition to Mr. Moran and Mrs. Norton, other members of Congress who signed the resolution are Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, Maryland Democrat; Virginia Republican Sens. John W. Warner and George F. Allen; Rep. Constance A. Morella, Maryland Republican; Maryland Democratic Reps. Benjamin L. Cardin, Elijah E. Cummings and Steny H. Hoyer; and Virginia Republican Reps. Frank R. Wolf and Thomas M. Davis III.
The resolution states that while Washington has long been a "global symbol of freedom and opportunity [and] has vast experience in warmly and safely hosting international visitors," it is one of only a few world capitals not to have hosted an Olympics.
During a visit to the city last summer, Charles Moore, chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee's bid-evaluation task force, said the Washington-Baltimore team "raised the bar" for other U.S. bidders to match.


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