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new federal inspection reports find old metro problems persist

fta inspectors noted six instances in january and february 2017 when they spotted stretches of track with lose or defective fasteners. (federal transit administration)if all goes according to plan, the federal transit administration will hand over safety oversight of metro within the next year to the new metrorail safety commission.in the meantime, however, fta inspectors continue to conduct day-to-day assessments of metro’s trains and infrastructure. and they continue to find problems.in the most recent batch of inspection reports released by the fta, metro was dinged for a range of defects in track maintenance and train operations — defects that suggest while that transit agency’s systemic problems may have lessened, certain problems persist.according to the report, there were six ...





the radnor/fort myer heights neighborhood in arlington is growing up

1 of 9full screenautoplaycloseskip ad×where we live | radnor/fort myer heights in arlingtonview photosa neighborhood with a mix of townhouses, condominiums, garden apartments and co-ops has experienced skyrocketing development in the past two decades.captiona neighborhood with a mix of townhouses, condominiums, garden apartments and co-ops has experienced skyrocketing development in the past two decades. the radnor/fort myer heights neighborhood is situated roughly between the court house and rosslyn metro stations and split by route 50.justin t. gellerson/for the washington postbuy photowait 1 second to continue.soon after heather mcintire moved to the radnor/fort myer heights neighborhood in arlington 18 years ago, she met her neighbor, marc raimondi, at the mailbox. they became close ...





d.c. to redirect taxpayer donations collected for a bankrupt children’s charity

donations made by district taxpayers to help at-risk children will be directed to a new agency, after the nonprofit organization that was supposed to receive the money went bankrupt and more than $100,000 in contributions fell into limbo. under next’s year’s budget, which has received preliminary approval by d.c. lawmakers, the money will be routed to a new agency that funds after-school programs for low-income children. the action came after the washington post reported that the city continued to solicit donations on tax forms for the public fund for drug prevention and children at risk even though d.c. trust, the fund’s beneficiary, dissolved in 2016 amid mismanagement and exorbitant spending by its staff. the fund for at-risk children is one of the three charitable causes listed o...





$47.25: toll nears record high on 66 express lanes

looking east onto i-66 from the n. scott street overpass, traffic is seen in arlington. (jahi chikwendiu/the washington post)the toll for a solo driver on virginia’s 66 express lanes topped out at $47.25 thursday — the second highest amount commuters have paid since the tolled lanes debuted last year.jennifer mccord, a spokeswoman for virginia’s department of transportation, said there were no major incidents reported thursday morning but “very heavy volume along the corridor, heading into d.c. at the peak of rush hour.”the previous high was $47.50 set on feb. 28, an amount that 21 people paid. on jan. 18, 28 people paid a toll of $47.25.state officials announced in april they would adjust the pricing algorithm on the express lanes in an effort to lower tolls that have stunned...





parks in d.c. and arlington are among the nation’s best, a survey says

the district and arlington claimed third and fourth place, respectively, in a new national survey of u.s. cities with the best parks.the survey came from the trust for public land, a nonprofit group whose “mission is to create parks and protect land for people,” according to its website.the district and arlington were bested only by minneapolis and st. paul, the twin cities that claimed the top two spots. arlington, noted for its park access, splash pads and restrooms, pulled ahead of san francisco and portland, ore., in this year’s survey. (arlington is a county but is treated as a city in the annual survey.)[from 2016: d.c. ranked 3rd in best u.s. city parks, arlington comes in 4th, report says]“the research is clear: quality, close-to-home parks are essential to communities. eve...





lawsuit claiming va. suspends driver’s licenses in ‘unconstitutional scheme’ is revived

a federal class-action lawsuit that claims virginia suspends the driver’s licenses of some poor people in an “unconstitutional scheme” will proceed after an appeals court overruled a lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit wednesday.[judge dismisses lawsuit that claimed va. suspends driver’s licenses of poor people in ‘unconstitutional scheme’]in 2016, the legal aid justice center, which represents low-income virginians, filed suit in u.s. district court in western virginia claiming that more than 940,000 people in the state had their licenses suspended for nonpayment of fees and fines.the policy infringes on the rights of the poor, the suit said, “effectively depriving them of reliable, lawful transportation necessary to get to and from work, take children to school, keep m...





dedicated funding law sidelines half of the metro board

metro board chairman jack evans, center, with mayor muriel e. bowser and d.c. council member phil mendelson. (bill o’leary/the washington post)nonvoting metro board members were barred from participation in thursday’s meeting, the first time alternates have been sidelined as part of restrictions tied to virginia’s commitment to provide its share of dedicated funding for the agency.the metro board has 16 members — two voting and two alternate members each from maryland, virginia, the district and the federal government. in exchange for its portion of the additional $500 million a year in dedicated funding for the agency, the virginia funding law prohibits alternate board members from participating in meetings unless they are sitting in place of an absent board member. the stipulati...





is rep. tom garrett leaving congress?

rep. thomas garrett (r-va.) speaks on the floor of the virginia senate at the state capitol in richmond in 2016 before being elected to congress. (bob brown/ap)rep. tom garrett (r-va.) said thursday that he will not drop his bid for a second term in congress, ending speculation triggered by an online report thursday that said he might not run. the facebook live announcement capped an uncertain 24 hours for garrett that left virginia republicans uncertain of his plans and briefly fueled democratic hopes of flipping the seat.“there is no way in heck that i’m not going to be back here in 2019,” garrett told about a dozen reporters and his online viewers during a news conference thursday afternoon.garrett made the announcement during a 25-minute long speech laced with lessons from his fa...





d.c. mayor muriel bowser opposes council plan to increase taxes on ride-hailing trips

d.c. mayor muriel e. bowser (d) is asking lawmakers to reverse tax increases and some spending cuts in next year’s $14.5 billion budget, which is scheduled for a final vote next week.in a letter to council chairman phil mendelson (d), bowser objected to how lawmakers restructured her tax proposal to fund the district’s $178.5 million share of a regional agreement to improve metro.when the council preliminarily approved the budget last week, it increased the tax on ride-hailing trips on uber, lyft and via from 1 percent to 6 percent, and rejected bowser’s plan to raise taxes on restaurant meals and hotel stays.that, bowser wrote monday, “effectively subsidiz[es] visitors to the district, tourists, and residents with higher levels of disposable income.”the mayor joined ride-hai...





service changes coming to d.c. circulator, but new operations contract still pending

an electric d.c. circulator bus travels along a georgetown route on may 11. (luz lazo/the washington post)the d.c. circulator is restructuring two of the system’s underperforming routes this summer, eliminating service where there is low ridership and redirecting it to popular destinations such as the southwest waterfront and eastern market.the changes taking effect next month are part of a larger plan to turn around the troubled bus system after years of chronic breakdowns, poor on-time performance and declining ridership. the circulator also is adding new electric buses to improve the reliability of its aging fleet.the d.c. department of transportation, which funds the six-route system, is expected to take over management from metro. that transition was expected to happen this spring ...





d.c.-area forecast: warm and pleasantly dry today; scattered thundershowers this weekend

equestrian field in rock creek park. (edward wood via flickr)today’s daily digita somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.9/10: nice and dry, barely a cloud in the sky, if only the temperature were not quite so high.express forecasttoday: sunny and dry with light breezes. highs: 80 to 84tonight: clear and calm. lows: 57 to 63tomorrow: sunny, a little more humid. highs: 84 to 88view the current weather at the washington post.forecast in detaildespite all of our recent rain, humidity is downright low today. if only we could hold on to this weather through the long holiday weekend. the good news is that weekend showers and storms should be on the spotty side; the bad news is there is little hope of pinpointing who stays dry and who has to run for cover...





new federal inspection reports find old metro problems persist

fta inspectors noted six instances in january and february 2017 when they spotted stretches of track with lose or defective fasteners. (federal transit administration)if all goes according to plan, the federal transit administration will hand over safety oversight of metro within the next year to the new metrorail safety commission.in the meantime, however, fta inspectors continue to conduct day-to-day assessments of metro’s trains and infrastructure. and they continue to find problems.in the most recent batch of inspection reports released by the fta, metro was dinged for a range of defects in track maintenance and train operations — defects that suggest while that transit agency’s systemic problems may have lessened, certain problems persist.according to the report, there were six ...





fire in capitol heights hotel kills 1

authorities said one person died thursday morning after a fire in a hotel room in the la quinta inn & suites in capitol heights, md.firefighters found the person, whose identity has not been released, in the room where the fire started on the hotel’s sixth floor, officials said. no other injuries were reported. the sprinkler system was activated and limited the fire’s damage, fire department spokesman mark brady said. firefighters extinguished the blaze, and investigators were en route, brady said. the hotel is located in a commercial area off busy central avenue.





the radnor/fort myer heights neighborhood in arlington is growing up

1 of 9full screenautoplaycloseskip ad×where we live | radnor/fort myer heights in arlingtonview photosa neighborhood with a mix of townhouses, condominiums, garden apartments and co-ops has experienced skyrocketing development in the past two decades.captiona neighborhood with a mix of townhouses, condominiums, garden apartments and co-ops has experienced skyrocketing development in the past two decades. the radnor/fort myer heights neighborhood is situated roughly between the court house and rosslyn metro stations and split by route 50.justin t. gellerson/for the washington postbuy photowait 1 second to continue.soon after heather mcintire moved to the radnor/fort myer heights neighborhood in arlington 18 years ago, she met her neighbor, marc raimondi, at the mailbox. they became close ...





dedicated funding law will sideline half of the metro board today

metro board chairman jack evans, center, with mayor muriel e. bowser and d.c. council member phil mendelson. (bill o’leary/the washington post)nonvoting metro board members will not be allowed to participate in thursday’s meeting, chairman jack evans and other officials said, the first time alternates have been sidelined as part of restrictions tied to virginia’s commitment to provide its share of dedicated funding for the agency.the metro board has 16 members — two voting and two alternate members each from maryland, virginia, the district and the federal government. in exchange for its portion of the additional $500 million a year in dedicated funding for the agency, the virginia funding law bars alternate board members from participating in meetings unless they are sitting in ...





is rep. tom garrett leaving congress?

rep. tom garrett (r-va.) speaks on the floor of the virginia senate at the state capitol in richmond in 2016 before being elected to congress. (bob brown/richmond times-dispatch/ap) (bob brown/ap)rep. thomas garrett (r-va.) says he will make an announcement about his future on thursday, following a politico report that said he was considering not seeking reelection.at 6:43 a.m., garrett tweeted that he would have a public statement after the house is done voting.late wednesday, the congressman posted a message on behalf of himself and his wife in a private facebook group full of supporters, according to a screen shot of the message.“all of you amazing people, thanks so much for your kinds words of encouragement. flanna and i are humbled and grateful. know two things. 1. the dc press is w...





fellow democrats target wexton over corporate money in primary

two of the six democrats vying to challenge rep. barbara comstock (r-va.) are criticizing the apparent front-runner, state sen. jennifer wexton, because she hasn’t pledged to forgo corporate donations. dan helmer and alison friedman have ramped up attacks on wexton (loudoun), saying a nominee who has not pledged to refuse corporate money can’t create enough of a contrast with comstock to win a general election. wexton promised in february that she would no longer accept money from dominion resources, the state’s largest corporate political donor and a populist target during last year’s governor’s race.before making the pledge, she took $1,850 in contributions to her congressional race from a dominion lobbyist and $4,500 in contributions to her two state legislative campaigns from...





d.c. to redirect taxpayer donations collected for a bankrupt children’s charity

donations made by district taxpayers to help at-risk children will be directed to a new agency, after the nonprofit organization that was supposed to receive the money went bankrupt and more than $100,000 in contributions fell into limbo. under next’s year’s budget, which has received preliminary approval by d.c. lawmakers, the money will be routed to a new agency that funds after-school programs for low-income children. the action came after the washington post reported that the city continued to solicit donations on tax forms for the public fund for drug prevention and children at risk even though d.c. trust, the fund’s beneficiary, dissolved in 2016 amid mismanagement and exorbitant spending by its staff. the fund for at-risk children is one of the three charitable causes listed o...





$47.25: toll nears record high on 66 express lanes

looking east onto i-66 from the n. scott street overpass, traffic is seen in arlington. (jahi chikwendiu/the washington post)the toll for a solo driver on virginia’s 66 express lanes topped out at $47.25 thursday — the second highest amount commuters have paid since the tolled lanes debuted last year.jennifer mccord, a spokeswoman for virginia’s department of transportation, said there were no major incidents reported thursday morning but “very heavy volume along the corridor, heading into d.c. at the peak of rush hour.”the previous high was $47.50 set on feb. 28, an amount that 21 people paid. on jan. 18, 28 people paid a toll of $47.25.state officials announced in april they would adjust the pricing algorithm on the express lanes in an effort to lower tolls that have stunned...





service changes coming to d.c. circulator, but new operations contract still pending

an electric d.c. circulator bus travels along a georgetown route on may 11. (luz lazo/the washington post)the d.c. circulator is restructuring two of the system’s underperforming routes this summer, eliminating service where there is low ridership and redirecting it to popular destinations such as the southwest waterfront and eastern market.the changes taking effect next month are part of a larger plan to turn around the troubled bus system after years of chronic breakdowns, poor on-time performance and declining ridership. the circulator also is adding new electric buses to improve the reliability of its aging fleet.the d.c. department of transportation, which funds the six-route system, is expected to take over management from metro. that transition was expected to happen this spring ...