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Reps. Moran, Connolly Introduce Bill to Extend Metrorail To Centreville And Woodbridge

7:01 PM, Mar 7, 2013   |    comments
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WOODBRIDGE, Va.  (WUSA) - There's an effort underway to extend Metrorail's Orange, Blue and Yellow lines. They would bring Metrorail to Centreville, Woodbridge, and through Fort Belvoir into Prince William County.

Congressmen Jim Moran and Gerry Connolly have introduced a bill to study the three Metrorail extensions.

Commuters like Phillip Mitchell like the idea. He works in Lorton as a federal contractor. He spends a total of 3 hours a day commuting back and forth to his home in Upper Marlboro. "It's a lot of wasted time and a lot of gas money. Metrorail would help a lot," said Mitchell.

The blue line would be extended from Springfield, along the CSX rail right-of-way and the orange line down the center median of I-66 to Centreville, both routes along those existing corridors will help alleviate the need to buy up land for the projects, said Sen. George Barker.

"Prince William commuters have the longest commutes of anywhere in the Metropolitan area, and virtually the longest of anywhere in the entire country. And part of that is because we don't have a jobs base down here. Getting Metrorail down here helps with economic development as well as providing benefits to commuters. It's helps the community as a whole," said Barker.

Barker says the reason Prince William commuters are saddled with the longest commutes in the nation is because there aren't enough jobs in the county.   He says half of all workers in Prince William commute out of the county to their jobs. 

Woodbridge is already served by Virginia Railway Express, but because those CSX rails are shared with Amtrak and freight trains, the commuter service is limited and at it's maximum capacity.

And, given VRE's limitations, Barker says it does not help generate economic growth like Metrorail would.

Critics argue extending metro rail is too expensive and they say there won't be enough riders.

"The ridership will be there. I have no doubt about that," said Barker. The feasibility study will determine the number of potential riders and its economic benefits.

Connolly says it took 47 years to get the Silver Line to Dulles under construction. He said he doesn't think it should take that long to bring Metrorail to the  I-66 or I-95 corridor. 

Rep. Moran said in a statement, "Every $1 invested in public transit, yields $4 in economic benefits.  As the population in this region continues to grow, so must our transportation infrastructure."

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