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Federal Officials Intervene In Dulles Metrorail Clash

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Fairfax County Chairman Sharon Bulova outside Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's office last month.
David Schultz
Fairfax County Chairman Sharon Bulova outside Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's office last month.

Fairfax County Chairman Sharon Bulova said something Wednesday you don't often hear a local politician say: "I'm glad that the federal government has decided to insert themselves."

Bulova was standing outside the offices of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, where she and other local officials met with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

The two parties -- local leaders and the Airports Authority -- are bitterly at odds over the cost of the project after the Authority chose a more expensive, underground rail station at Dulles Airport, rather than a less expensive above-ground option.

Now the localities are refusing to pay for it, and LaHood is trying to avert a total collapse by bringing everyone to the table, though apparently nothing concrete was decided Wednesday.

Like Bulova, Airports Board Chair Charles Snelling says he supports LaHood's peacemaking efforts, but he struck a very different tone. When asked whether he was surprised that there needed to be a federal intervention Snelling said, "No, I'm delighted."

And with that, Snelling walked away. He'll be back, along with his local funding partners, for another negotiating session in July.


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