GAO Review Supports Gainer Expenditure
A congressional review released yesterday found that U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer did not overstep his authority or violate federal law by tapping an emergency fund for $10 million to set up security checkpoints around Capitol Hill last year.
The Government Accountability Office study, dated Thursday, was requested by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who had criticized Gainer, saying that he did not clear his plans with lawmakers and that he sacrificed public access based on internal political considerations within Congress.
In a brief statement relayed by his spokesman, Gainer said: "The report speaks for itself. Capitol Police will continue to work with the committees to ensure good communication."
Metro's Tysons Extension Supported
The $1.5 billion plan to extend Metro from West Falls Church to Tysons Corner is among several U.S. transit projects that have received a "recommended" rating from the Federal Transit Administration as part of the Bush administration's proposed 2006 budget.
The rating is necessary for the project to proceed but does not guarantee that the federal government will help pay for it. It means FTA officials believe that the project meets certain criteria, including cost effectiveness and ridership, that make it eligible for 50 percent federal funding.
Virginia has completed about 50 percent of the preliminary engineering work for the proposed project, said Karen Rae, director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. The 11.6-mile extension would stretch from the West Falls Church Station through Tysons Corner to Wiehle Avenue in Reston.
Public Hearing on Dulles Toll Increase
Fairfax County Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) will hold a public hearing in Reston tomorrow night on the proposed toll increase on the Dulles Toll Road.
The 7:30 p.m. hearing will be at the North County Government Center, 12000 Bowman Towne Dr. The Commonwealth Transportation Board is considering raising tolls to 50 cents from 25 cents on ramps and to 75 cents from 50 cents at the toll plaza. Revenue from the proposed increase would help fund Virginia's share of a Metrorail extension through Tysons Corner and eventually to Dulles International Airport.
Appeals Court Upholds Arms Decision
A federal appeals court yesterday upheld a lower court's decision that the constitutional right to bear arms does not apply to the District of Columbia's residents.
Several city residents sued the city and the federal government, arguing that a 1976 city law banning the possession of guns left them unfairly vulnerable. The National Rifle Association viewed the suit as a way to protect the right to bear arms.
In January 2004, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton dismissed the lawsuit after determining that the District had a unique government and that the founders were not considering the city when they wrote the Constitution's Second Amendment allowing state militias to take up arms. Walton also found that all but one of the D.C. residents suing did not have a legitimate reason to file a federal suit about their constitutional rights because they did not own a gun and had not tried to register one.