The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission last night unanimously ejected Arlington County Board member Walter Frankland to the Metro Board, but only after he promised not to "thwart the will" of the commission.
The "will of the commission" its members made clear before voting, is to support the earliest possible complection of the planned 100-mile Metro system, which Frankland has frequently and vocally questioned.
Frankland thus replaced retired Arlington County Board member Joseph S. Wholey, who has just stepped down as Metor Board chairman.
In other action last night, the commission supported adoption of legislation calling for a one cent sales tax in Northern Virginia to support Metro operating deficits and other Northern Virginia transportation needs.
Under the legislation outlined by State Sen. Omer L. Hirst (D-Fairfax), each of the five Northern Virginia jurisdications would have to approve the tax in referendums. Only if all five did so, could tax take effect.
The money could be used among other things by Fairfax City to subsidize its private contract bus service that is presently competing with Metro. That way, several Virginia officials said, it is felt that a referendum could pass in Fairfax City.
The proposed legislation also would require that property and other taxes now levied by Northern Virginia jurisdictions be decreased by the amount of revenue raised by the sales tax. Than way, the new tax would not represent an increased burden on the taxpayer at large.
After Frankland was nominated, Carol Delong of the Falls Church City Council stated, "Mr. Frankland is opposed to the 100-mile system. How can he support the transit commission at the Metro board?"
Frankland replied after some discussion that "I would never take a vote that would defeat the 100-mile system on the present schedule... I certainly would not at any time use personal positionto outweigh, thwart the will of the commission." Frankland promised however that he would continue to ask questions concerning the long term "true costs" of operating the Metro subway and bus system.
The commission also voted to send $9.6 million in state money to Metro to use in the purchase of about 80 new subway cars. Maryland and District of Columbia Metro members had asked that Virginia also contribute about $500,000 in interest it had accumulated on the money, but the commission unanimously declined.
"I'm going to give them a check for $9.6 million and we'll see if they turn it down," said Fairfax County member Joseph Alexander.