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VIRGINIA BRIEFING

Friday, April 28, 2006

ARLINGTON COUNTY

Board Backs Streetcar Line

The Arlington County Board has endorsed a plan to put a streetcar line on Columbia Pike that would connect the Pentagon City Metro station with the Skyline area of Fairfax County.

If completed, it would be the first major streetcar line in the region; District transportation officials are planning a smaller line in Anacostia.

Arlington hopes a streetcar line would attract development for the Columbia Pike corridor. Funding for the $120 million project has not been found.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set to take up the matter Monday. If it approves, the two jurisdictions and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will begin the second phase of the project, which includes environmental studies and a design for the streetcar.

-- Annie Gowen

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY

Panel Relents on Ammunition

A weapons control committee for Prince William County has recommended that the county allow hunters to load their guns with both buckshot and slugs. Its chairman has resigned over the vote.

The 6 to 0 vote came Wednesday night, a day after the Board of County Supervisors unanimously repealed its recent decision to ban buckshot, which some hunters believe is less humane to animals.

The supervisors were inundated with e-mails and phone calls after voting to prohibit buckshot and eliminate a current ban on slugs April 18. The e-mail campaign was led by the Fairfax-based National Rifle Association and other groups, which began pushing the county to allow both types of ammunition.

The weapons committee had previously recommended the exclusive use of slugs to comply with regulations at nearby Quantico Marine Corps Base, said member Richard Baldwin, who represents the Dumfries District. He said the panel now believes hunters should have more discretion.

Richard Baucom, the committee's chairman, resigned yesterday because he was disappointed in the board's decision.

"Apparently, there is a difference of opinion in what is appropriate," said Baucom, who did not attend Wednesday's meeting. "I felt it was time to move on."

A final vote has not been scheduled.

-- Nikita Stewart

FAIRFAX COUNTY

Metro Tunnel Favored at Tysons

A survey of Fairfax County residents found that a majority would like to see the Metro extension to Dulles International Airport built below Tysons Corner instead of aboveground, and a quarter of everyone polled said they would be willing to pay almost any price for a tunnel.

The online, unscientific survey of 409 residents was done by Qorvis Communications, a local public relations firm that said it was not commissioned to do the poll but was curious about residents' opinions on the tunnel.

The results arrive in the middle of a debate over whether the new line should cross the four-mile stretch through Tysons Corner by tunnel or elevated track. The builders say a tunnel would cost too much; others, including Metro and Fairfax officials, say it would cost only slightly more and be worth it.

The poll found that 50 percent of respondents prefer a below-ground approach, 14 percent prefer an elevated track and the rest had no preference.

When those who were undecided were pressed, half chose a tunnel. Of those who prefer the elevated track, nearly half said they would prefer a tunnel if there were no cost difference. Virtually everyone thought that a tunnel would cost more.

Tunnel proponents have said it would be less disruptive during construction, but only slightly more than half of the poll respondents had that view. The vast majority said they thought an elevated track would be a noisy eyesore.

-- Alec MacGillis

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