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Business Leaders In DC Region Meet For First ‘Summit’ On Metro Funding

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Political leaders from Northern Virginia are gathering for their first ever “regional summit” Wednesday morning to discuss ways to address D.C. Metro funding.

Organizers, including five chambers of commerce and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, describe the event as a first of its kind meeting that will also feature discussions on ways to improve the local economy. Local politicians will host a round table discussion with roughly 250 business leaders from the community and much of the discussion will center on how to get more funds for the Metro, reports The Washington Post.

“What we really want to find out is how can we best work together, how can the public sector support the private sector, and vice versa,” Jim Corcoran, president of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, told The Washington Post.

A contentious discussion is expected over whether or not officials should allocate funds for a new bridge over the Potomac River to ease traffic flow in and out of Washington, D.C. Many advocates of public transit staunchly oppose a new bridge while declining ridership from SafeTrack repairs are gutting Metro’s revenue stream.

“We’ve had a hard time understanding why they focus on that project, given Metro’s needs, and given the demonstrated demand and economic success of transit-oriented development,” Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, told The Washington Post.

The current surge of SafeTrack repairs includes disruptions to weekend service, which were added recently after a number of federal investigations. Inspections revealed familiar safety threats on all six lines of tracks throughout the transit system, similar to the mechanical issues blamed for the July 29 derailment of a silver line train in Virginia. The potential threats forced officials to overhaul their safety plan to meet the standards set forth by the FTA.

Officials will shut down various portions of blue line track for two consecutive weekends as part of the revisions. The Franconia- Springfield station will close the first two weekends of September. Both the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street stations will be closed on Labor Day.

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