Most of the time I agree with Hugh Hewitt. There are occasions I don’t and stances he holds on some issues that I just can’t support. Every now and then he’ll make a comment that has me shaking my head. Today’s is one of those.
He mentions Judge Luttig today, the man who should have been warming a seat at the Supreme Court right now. Luttig resigned from the 4th Circuit this week to pursue a position at Boeing. Hugh suggest that he might get some phone calls from Presidential hopefuls soon, one of which would be McCain. Here’s the comment that gets me:
There are lots of ways to mend fences with conservatives, and the best method would be extended consultations with an individual who, should he emerge as a senior McCain advisor, would overnight ease conservative concerns about the senator’s judicial philosophy.
Begging Hugh’s pardon, but what would that prove? I would ask any conservative who’s willing to think about it to provide for me a name of an individual, should McCain consult with them, that would erase McCain’s efforts to collapse the First Amendment. What judge should he be photographed with to make his comment about preferring a “clean government” (defined by McCain, natch) to First Amendment rights less of a threat to our democracy? What member of the bench or bar would be able to use his name to somehow alter McCain’s collusion with Kennedy over illegal aliens?
So he knows enough to call a rock-solid former judge to ask his opinion on things judicial. So what? Is that supposed to make his “Gang of 14″ stab-in-the-back suddenly OK? Actions, Mr. McCain. For me to even briefly consider him as a candidate I need to see actions that will repair the damage he’s done. Who he calls is of no concern to me and I don’t care whose advice he asks for. Start doing the right thing and then I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Not before.
My out-of-town readers are going to have to bear with me for a moment as I comment on a purely local issue. Washington, DC has one of the more attractive subway systems I’ve run into. Out here, it’s called “the Metro” and it’s a vital part of the transport infrastructure. I use it myself on a very regular basis and it’s pretty good at what it does.
Over the past 30 years of its operation the Metro has seen several expansions. Additional stations have been built and the Green Line section of track didn’t exist at all when I took my first Metro ride in 1976. The Metro has a station right at Reagan National Airport so a traveller to DC can get off his plane, get on the Metro, and visit just about any of the federal government agencies in DC without once renting a car or taking a taxi.
Ah, but if that traveller lands at Dulles International? Different story. You see, there’s no Metro rail out this far. The local dream to build a rail to Dulles has been in the news for most of the time I’ve lived out here so most of the locals get that “believe-it-when-I-see-it” look on their faces when it comes up. The difference today is that there’s a serious push to get construction started and enough federal matching funds to actually get underway. The real problem, as many of us have seen it, is that the first four stations on this new extension are slated to be in the Tyson’s Corner area, a nexus around 4 major highways that has 2 huge malls and lots and lots of business. Read that: lots and lots of traffic and precious little room to build stuff. The Metro there should be built underground to avoid the issues of taking up surface space, but that costs money. Big money. So, in order to avoid losing the federal funds due to cost overruns, some are pushing for it to be built above ground. That’s causing a deadlock.
Why delay rail to Dulles by building four Tysons stations first? The Tysons debate has much to do with cost effectiveness, particularly from the federal point of view. It’s most cost effective to move people to Dulles Airport first. That generates an early return on investment from riders to Dulles. The loop through Tysons could then be built as an option off the main line down the Access Road. Meanwhile, ridership to and from Dulles would be able to carry not only airline passengers from Washington and Northern Virginia, but a number of commuters from eastern Loudoun as well.
Hear, hear. Many of us out this far from Tyson’s have been asking just how much ridership Tyson’s will get between its four stations. Did I mention there’s an existing station at Dunn Loring already, just a couple of miles from the center of Tyson’s? They get ridership, make no mistake. But is it really necessary to build four more stations in this relatively small area and still make everyone in Reston, Herndon, Sterling, Dulles (airport and community), Ashburn, and Leesburg drive in there to get to the Metro? Virtually all of those people could be served from two or three stations along the Dulles Access Road and that takes all of those cars off the road into Tyson’s every day. To say nothing of people who would take the Metro simply to get to Tyson’s – people who avoid it now because of the traffic.
Mr. Casey has it right. Let’s get started on the Metro to Dulles now and capture the federal matching funds to put a real mass-transit solution in place to the area’s largest airport. The benefits will help us reach the rest of our goals down the line.