Peter Whoriskey's June 25 front-page story, "Price Soars for Extension of Metrorail; Cuts to Be Sought in Tysons Project," discussed a cost overrun of 60 percent in less than two years for the Tysons-Dulles Metro line. A series of overruns has taken this project's cost from an estimated $1.45 billion in 1997 to more than $5 billion today, with no end in sight.

In response, project designers may eliminate a one-mile tunnel in Tysons Corner and replace it with an elevated rail along Route 7, as high as 50 feet in some places. Unfortunately, as Mr. Whorisky's June 23 front-page story, "Exploring Inroads for Tysons Foot Traffic," suggested, plans to redesign Tysons around a new Metro line are difficult in the extreme, even without throwing an ugly rail line into the mix.

Does anyone believe an aboveground rail line down the middle of Wilson Boulevard would have led to the successful redevelopment of Arlington's Rosslyn-Ballston corridor? Can anyone believe this strategy for Tysons should proceed unquestioned?

According to the U.S. Transportation Research Board, new rapid-transit technologies can perform better than rail at a much lower cost. Such technologies could serve all of Northern Virginia's suburbs, not just Tysons Corner. Before committing ourselves to what looks increasingly like a blunder costing $5 billion and rising, we must give alternatives a full and fair review.




Peter Whoriskey's June 23 front-page story correctly characterized the difficulty of navigating Tysons Corner on foot. As a teenager I braved Leesburg Pike traffic many times to get from the shopping mall to the cinema.

A practical solution would be to install elevated pedestrian walkways. Falls Church has one. Elevated walkways can be elegant; witness one at the Marriott in Grand Cayman. Although expensive, they do not impede traffic flow and offer a safe way to cross busy streets.