News

News Briefs: October 20th – 26th

Kaine, Warner Urge WMATA To ‘Get It Done’ on Silver Line

Virginia’s U.S. Senators. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement regarding the status of the Silver Line extension:

“The United States government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, local governments, taxpayers and commuters have spent billions to construct a state-of-the-art Silver Line. It’s taken decades to realize the dream of Metro service to Dulles and now travelers along the corridor can see tracks, gleaming new stations, and test trains moving along the route.

“All that remains is for WMATA and the Safety Commission to get their acts together and remember that they are not in existence to wage turf battles but to serve the transportation needs of area residents. We are making it clear to both agencies: it’s time to get this done.”

Fairfax County Board chair Jeff McKay also reported that last week he “hoped aboard a Metro train for the 3 minute 30 second (we timed it!) journey from Innovation Station to Dulles International Airport, a key part of the much-anticipated and long overdue Silver Line Phase 2 extension adding six stations, connecting Reston to Ashburn.”

McKay said that joining him were Providence Supervisor Dalia Palchik and Airports Authority Board Member and former County Board Chairman Kate Hanley and WMATA officials. McKay said “it is incumbent upon all regional leaders to advocate for better transparency and accountability and additional financial assistance from the federal government, the primary beneficiary of the service.”

According to a press statement from WMATA received yesterday, the date for opening “now rests with Safety Commission concurrence on both Silver Line certification and new 7K Return to Service Plan.”

WMATA stated that “after successfully completing two weeks of simulated service, Metro leaders said today that they will be able to open the extension to Dulles Airport Station in time for the start of busy Thanksgiving travel, subject to approvals this week from the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) of two submissions — a data-driven Return to Service Plan for 7000-series railcars, and a safety certification report of the Silver Line extension.

“We committed for the Silver Line extension to being operationally ready for the Silver Line extension in October, and we have met our deadline,” said WMATA General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke. “Since control of the extension was turned over to Metro, we and our partners at the Airports Authority, Fairfax, and Loudoun have worked diligently to complete all of the steps needed for Metro to offer safe and reliable service for rail travel to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County, and we are just awaiting concurrence from our Safety Commission partners.”   

GOP Candidates in Virginia Called Out for Incongruities

This week, GOP challengers in two critical U.S. House congressional races in Virginia were called out for cloaking important incongruities in their campaigns. 

Tuesday, GOP House minority leader Kevin McCarthy campaigned for Jen Kiggans, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria in Tidewater, and his plan to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block was featured. 

McCarthy has been quoted saying that “if Republicans win control of the House the GOP will use raising the debt limit as leverage to force spending cuts — which could include cuts to Medicare and Social Security.” Kiggans was then cited endorsing McCarthy’s plan, calling it “a great plan.”

Then, in the campaign of the GOP’s Yesli Vega against Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger in the 7th District, Vega’s cited opposition to President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan was contrasted to her achieving the removal of $96,000 in student loan debts through personal bankruptcy in an article in the Prince William Times this week.

State Sen. Petersen Speaks at F.C. Chamber Luncheon

Falls Church’s new State Senator Chap Petersen, a Democrat, spoke to the monthly luncheon of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce Tuesday. With the recently reconfigured districts in the state, Petersen, who has represented areas further west in Fairfax for 22 years, is now representing the City of Falls Church for the very first time, even though nobody in the City has ever voted for him.  

Petersen said he’s been working on addressing that issue by undertaking extensive walking tours to meet City residents as well as meeting them at public events. He will be on the ballot seeking election to another four year term in November 2023, which will make F.C. ‘s first shot at voting for him.

He said a key issue for the legislature next year will be finding ways for salaries to keep up with inflation. Also, he said that Virginians have the “best value in the U.S. for their education dollars.”