Metro Delays Vote on Higher Fares, Fees

Metro directors postponed a vote on whether to raise rail fares, bus fares and parking fees yesterday for another week, saying they were still trying to work out an agreement among representatives from the District, Maryland and Virginia.

Metro officials held public hearings seeking reactions to proposals to raise Metrorail's base fare up to 30 cents, to $1.40, and the base bus fare as much as 20 cents, to $1.30. Parking fees could be raised by as much as $1 for daily parking and $20 for monthly parking. Directors also are discussing whether to expand service on weekends.

Officials from the District and the suburbs have disagreed over how much of the increases should be paid by city dwellers, most of whom walk to Metro stations, and by suburbanites who drive to stations. The increases would take effect July 1.


Census Data Show State Getting Younger

Virginia's population is looking a little younger, particularly in Northern Virginia, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates of more than 3,000 localities.

Statewide, 11.2 percent of the population was 65 or older last year.

Five Northern Virginia localities placed among the top 50 nationally for under-65 residents as a percent of the total population: Manassas Park at 13th; Prince William at 16th; Loudoun County at 25th; Stafford County at 29th; and Manassas at 35th.

In all five localities, more than 90 percent of the residents are younger than 65.

GOP Figure's Law License Suspended

Edmund A. Matricardi, a former top operative of the state Republican parties in Virginia and South Carolina, has had his Virginia law license suspended.

The Disciplinary Board of the Virginia State Bar summarily suspended Matricardi's license April 3, according to the bar's Web site. Two days earlier, Matricardi had pleaded guilty to a felony charge of intercepting a wire communication in U.S. District Court in Richmond.

Matricardi was executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia from 1999 until last April, when he resigned during an investigation of charges that he had obtained the pass code to a closed conference call among Democratic state legislators.

He went to work as operations director of the South Carolina GOP in July and resigned when a federal grand jury indicted him in January.

Under Matricardi's plea agreement, federal prosecutors will recommend three years of probation and a $10,000 fine. He will also lose some civil liberties, including the right to vote or hold elected office.


Hearings Planned on Higher MARC Fares

The Maryland Transit Administration is proposing fare increases on its MARC suburban commuter trains that would take effect this summer. If the state approves the new fares after a round of public hearings scheduled for May 18 to 28, they would be the first increases since 1996.

The Metro system and Virginia Railway Express, the region's other two rail lines, also are considering fare increases.

For MARC riders, the $4 fare would increase to $5, and the most expensive fare would rise from $11.50 to $14. The cost of a one-way ticket between Baltimore and Washington would increase from $5.25 to $7.

The MTA is also proposing eliminating the round-trip ticket and replacing it with a 10-trip ticket.

Other changes under consideration include allowing monthly pass holders to park for free at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport rail station and increasing the daily parking fee for all others from $6 to $9.

The transit administration also is proposing fare increases for its bus, light rail and subway systems.

Baywide Sediment Reduction Goals Set

Leaders of Chesapeake Bay restoration programs have for the first time established baywide sediment reduction goals for the Chesapeake and the major rivers that flow into the estuary, part of a plan to restore water quality to levels not seen since the 1950s.

Partners in the federal Chesapeake Bay Program also agreed to set a new goal of 185,000 acres of underwater grasses by 2010, up from the previous goal of 114,000 acres. Underwater grasses currently cover about 85,000 acres of bay bottom.

"This is groundbreaking stuff," Christopher Connor, a spokesman for the federal government's Chesapeake Bay Program, said yesterday.

In another first, the bay cleanup partners will establish five "habitat zones" and will try to tailor standards for such components as dissolved oxygen, water clarity and chlorophyll to the needs of the plants and animals living in each zone.

The new goals were agreed upon at a meeting in Annapolis this week that included representatives of New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, along with the District and the federal government.

They will supplement another set of goals established last month when the bay partners agreed to cut almost in half the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous entering the bay by 2010, when compared with 1985.


Deadline Set for Summer Jobs Enrollment

The deadline for registering for the D.C. Department of Employment Services summer jobs program has been set at May 16.

District residents ages 14 to 21 are eligible to apply for a job or work experience through the Passport to Work summer jobs initiative. The five-week program runs July 7 to Aug. 8. Participants can earn a minimum of $5.15 an hour and work 20 to 30 hours a week, based on age.

Register at the department's Office of Youth Programs, 625 H St. NE, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The office will stay open until 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays until the deadline.

To register, youths must present proof of D.C. residency, citizenship and family income; a birth certificate; a Social Security card; and, for men 18 and older, Selective Service verification. Additional information may be obtained by calling 202-698-3991.

"It's her proof. We know she's a citizen, but with the world being a crazy place the way it is, I want to have the document for her."

-- Marla Belvedere, referring to daughter Laura Aizhan Belvedere, one of 22 children adopted by U.S. families who received certificates of citizenship at the D.C. Armory, which has been turned into a three-ring arena for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. -- Page B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Katherine Shaver and Sylvia Moreno and the Associated Press.