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Virginia Will Deliver Funds, Despite Earlier Doubts

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By Rebecca Blatt

Virginia's Secretary of Transportation says the Commonwealth will give Metro funding it had pledged to match federal dollars, despite earlier indications that it might withhold the money until it was awarded representation on Metro's board.

The controversy has to do with funds pledged by the federal government, Maryland, Virginia and D.C. over the next decade--$3 billion in total. Virginia's Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton had suggested that Virginia might withhold its portion until the state is given its own representation on Metro's board. Right now Northern Virginia localities hold seats on the board.

At a meeting Thursday, Metro Interim General Manager Richard Sarles gave Virginia 24 hours to offer a commitment. He said purchases of new rail cars were in jeopardy.

In a statement, Connaughton says the Commonwealth understands Metro's contractual deadlines and is willing to commit the funding. Connaughton says Virginia communicated that to Metro Wednesday, the day before Sarle's ultimatum. He says Virginia will work together with Metro to establish a mutually beneficial and productive partnership.

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