Uncle Sam said good-bye to Arlington yesterday.
The federal government dropped its controversial proposal to rename the Washington Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area the "Washington-Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area."
Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.) said Office of Management and Budget Director David A. Stockman had told him that the name finally chosen is the "Washington-Maryland-Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area."
"I'm obviously pleased with the decision," said Parris, whose Northern Virginia district doesn't include Arlington. "It was not any more fair to Alexandria and Fairfax County to call it Washington-Arlington than it would have been fair to Arlington to call it Washington-Fairfax or Washington-Alexandria."
Edwin L. Dale Jr., a spokesman for OMB, which has charge of defining the nation's metropolitan areas, declined to comment, saying that an announcement on the Washington-Arlington name change, along with the decisions for 325 other designations, will be made Monday. The new name changes are to take effect Thursday.
The OMB action is expected to end a local furor that arose when the federal government decided several months ago to add Arlington to the region's official name. The 1980 Census revealed that Arlington's employment had topped 100,000, making the county--in the eyes of Uncle Sam--a full-fledged city and therefore equal to the District.
Arlington officials bragged that their county was finally getting its just recognition, but other groups sounded the alarm. The Washington Board of Trade warned that the change would dilute the city's marketing appeal, and District officials said the addition would tarnish the city's name.
Officials in Maryland and in other parts of Northern Virginia complained about unfairness. Yesterday, on hearing of the decision, most of the protesters were pleased.
"It sounds logical," said Bud Moss, administrative assistant to Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.).
"It's clearly more descriptive than that Washington-Arlington stupidity," said Fairfax County Board Chairman John F. Herrity. "I assume it the new listing is not in any order of preference."
Herrity complained that the whole issue never should have come up, arguing that "Washington" or "Greater Washington" has been "good enough for 100 years."
"Why change it now?" He said. "It's ridiculous. . . . I wonder how much this has cost the taxpayers."
Arlington County Board member Walter L. Frankland also said he would prefer "Greater Washington" and called the new name "very wordy." He said the name controversy was "nothing to devote much time or energy to," although the Washington-Arlington name "was very complimentary of Arlington."
The old Washington Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area covered the District, seven surrounding counties and five cities and included 3.1 million people and 2,810 square miles, according to the 1980 Census.
As a result of population changes and commuting patterns, Stafford County, Va., and Frederick and Calvert counties in Maryland are being joined to the metropolitan region, adding 190,000 people and 1,152 square miles.