Alexandria and Fairfax County officials moved yesterday to resolve their dispute over Metro's planned rail station at Van Dorn Street in Alexandria's West End.
Fairfax Supervisor Joseph Alexander yesterday proposed a tripartite agreement among Metro, Fairfax and Alexandria delaying the opening of the station until the Yellow line is completed to the Franconia-Springfield station in Fairfax.
The Van Dorn Street station is now scheduled to open in 1990. The Franconia-Springfield station is tentatively scheduled for completion in 1994.
The issue arose after Alexandria Mayor Charles E. Beatley said the city was not going to pay its share for the station unless financing for the line beyond Van Dorn was assured.
"If they wanted to delay Van Dorn's opening until the opening of Franconia, I don't have any problems with that; that can be worked on," Alexander said yesterday.
A similar agreement was negotiated with Falls Church, which objected to the opening of Orange line stations near the city there until the line was completed to Nutley Road in Fairfax, Alexander said.
Beatley said he liked Alexander's idea. "I think that'd be a good idea. I'd go along with that," he said, reacting to the proposal. This would meet his main concern that Van Dorn not become, even temporarily, an end-of-the-line station because of the traffic congestion and unwanted commercial development it would attract, he said.
"We've got to have a commitment for the end of the line all the way to Springfield," Beatley said. "This line was planned as a whole, you can't build it piecemeal."
A financial agreement that includes construction of the Van Dorn station is awaiting the signature of all cities and counties served by Metro. This is the agreement Beatley threatened not to sign.
Under the agreement, no federal money would immediately be available for the extension of the Yellow line beyond Van Dorn Street, making its construction an uncertainty. But Alexander said Metro will ask Congress for further construction funds and that a failure of Alexandria to sign the impending financial agreement would jeopardize the plans of Washington-area officials to complete the 101-mile system they envision.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman John F. Herrity said he did not think Alexander's proposal was "a great approach" but he said that "there may be some room for negotiations here."
He pointed out that the deal with Falls Church was different since there already was money earmarked for completion of the Orange Line at the time.
Herrity also said he didn't think it a good idea to build the Van Dorn Street station only to let it sit unused. "That's a lot of money for something developing cobwebs."
Beatley's objections to the Van Dorn Street station surfaced after the City Council learned last month that its share for its construction would almost double, from $6 million to $11 million, as a result of a Metro decision to shorten its construction schedule.
The council deferred signing the financial agreement after hearing about the increase in its quota.