Kudos to Rep. Gerry Connolly for challenging Bob McDonnell on this absolutely crucial issue. The question is, will Gov. McDonnell stand with extremist House Republicans as they rip Metro – and, in the process, northern Virginia – to shreds? Or, will he stand up for northern Virginia, and by extension, the entire Commonwealth? This one will reveal Bob McDonnell’s true colors for sure.
Connolly Asks Gov. McDonnell to Join Fight for Metro Funding
GOP Bill in U.S. House Cuts $150 Million for Metro Safety & Infrastructure
WASHINGTON – Congressman Gerry Connolly is urging Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to join in the fight to restore $150 million in federal funding for Metro safety and infrastructure improvements.
In a letter sent today, Connolly urged McDonnell “to join me in opposing legislation that would eliminate the federal government’s $150 million commitment for Metro, which would threaten the economic prosperity of the Commonwealth and undermine critical transportation investments on which we have partnered.”
Connolly also asked McDonnell to reach out to the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives. “I also would encourage you to reach out to Speaker Boehner and House leadership to educate them on the irreparable damage this action could have on the Commonwealth’s economy and transportation needs,” he said.
More on the “flip;” Photo by Wayan Vota
Tuesday night, Connolly’s amendment to the continuing appropriations bill, backed by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Reps. Jim Moran, Chris Van Hollen, and Donna Edwards, and DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, was killed on the House floor when Republicans opposed the legislation and ruled it out of order.
Connolly is seeking to reinstate the annual federal payment to Metro for fiscal year 2011, offsetting the cost by reducing direct federal farm subsidies, mostly to large agribusinesses. The GOP’s continuing appropriations bill under consideration this week eliminates the annual federal government payment for Metro.
The first $150 million federal payment to Metro was made in fiscal year 2010. Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia each agreed to make $50 million annual payments to Metro to match the yearly federal payment for the next decade, and the Metro board amended its compact to give the federal government two permanent seats on the board.
THE TEXT OF THE LETTER FOLLOWS
Dear Governor McDonnell,
I write to invite you to join me in opposing legislation that would eliminate the federal government’s $150 million commitment for Metro, which would threaten the economic prosperity of the Commonwealth and undermine critical transportation investments on which we have partnered.
House Speaker John Boehner is bringing the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act for 2011 (H.R. 1) to the floor for consideration this week. Of particular concern to our shared constituents is the proposal to eliminate the federal government’s next installment for Metro’s capital needs as outlined in the Rail Safety Improvements Act of 2008.
As you know, any reduction in the federal commitment for Metro could unravel the partnership among the Commonwealth, Maryland, and the District of Columbia to fund vital safety and infrastructure improvements throughout the Metro system. The Virginia delegation along with you and your predecessors have consistently worked in a bipartisan fashion to obtain and now preserve this funding, and it is through this partnership that both the federal government, the States and the District will realize a greater role in the oversight and safety of Metro. The success of Metro is vital to the mobility of commuters and commerce throughout Northern Virginia, which has economic ramifications for the rest of the Commonwealth. This funding also will help support the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, another critical economic investment on which the federal government and the Commonwealth are partnering.
In many ways this proposal resembles the arbitrary decision by the Defense Department to shutter the Joint Forces Command in Hampton Roads. Though that action is centered on one region of the Commonwealth, its ramifications will affect all Virginians, and you were right to enlist Virginia’s Congressional delegation to respond in a united, bipartisan fashion. I am proud to work with you and my colleagues as we continue to fight that decision, and I now would urge you to reach out to the delegation again with respect to this misguided assault on Metro.
I also would encourage you to reach out to Speaker Boehner and House leadership to educate them on the irreparable damage this action could have on the Commonwealth’s economy and transportation needs. While I am pleased that President Obama recognizes the value of this partnership and has continued to fund the federal government’s commitment to Metro in his proposed budget for fiscal year 2012, the threat to this funding in fiscal year 2011 is now pending before the House of Representatives. I have introduced an amendment that would restore these critical funds, and I welcome your efforts to join me in fighting this proposal.
Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress
11th District of Virginia