Thank you for your decision on Dulles Rail

February 14, 2008

Honorable Mary E. Peters.
US Secretary of Transportation
1300 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590

Honorable James S. Simpson,
Administrator, Federal Transit Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590

Re: Thank you for your decision on Dulles Rail

Dear Secretary Peters and Mr. Simpson:

Thank you for your wisdom and courage in calling attention to the fatal defects in the Dulles Rail proposal.

I was in France when the good news arrived. Here were the headlines on day on Yahoo France:

French Trader costs Societe General $7 billion in trading losses
Federal Transit Administration saves Northern Virginia taxpapers even more!

(just kidding on that one).

Seriously, though, the time has come to put a stake through this misguided project. Leaving it unrated is unwise. As we all learned from watching the movie,  Night of the Living Dead, zombies are the most terrifying life form.

I think we all can learn a lot about government from this experience. I offer the following suggestions about some additional rating perspectives for investments requested by the federal government. Also, some suggestions for dealing with politicians, the public, and the press. These are in addition to the deficiencies noted in Mr. Simpson’s letter.

Our perspective is simple:

If Dulles Rail could be installed for free tomorrow, it would make no sense to operate it(sort of like the Miami people mover).

The reasons are lack of effectiveness, high deficits, poor aesthetics, and the foreclosure of more effective alternatives such a HOT lanes to due consumption of needed right of way.

Thank you for your decision on Dulles Rail