More details on Dulles Corridor Metro

Dulles Rail Gets Federal ApprovalThe Post
As expected (since this morning at least), USDOT announced today that it is now supporting the proposal to build the Silver Line along the Dulles Corridor.

In a letter to Kaine and in a 10 a.m. conference call with the governor and Virginia congressional leaders, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said the $5 billion project had finally met the Federal Transit Administration’s standards for cost efficiency, construction and expected ridership. The project will now move into the final design phase, a major step toward receiving $900 million in federal funding.

“As a result of the collaboration between federal and state officials, the project sponsor and other project stakeholders, the financial stability and oversight of the project has improved,” Peters wrote to Kaine in a letter obtained by The Washington Post. “Cost reductions have been verified and mechanisms have been established to enhance inter-organizational cooperation, technical capacity and project management.”

Good news, but this isn’t fait accompli just yet:

Still, Peters went on, “much work remains” to make the project right. Today’s approval comes with conditions that must be met if the project is to receive federal funding. Without that money, state and local officials have said that the project would die, ending the possibility of a long-sought rail connection between the nation’s capital and its major international airport. Supporters say the line would ease congestion through Virginia’s biggest jobs corridor and keep the economy humming with the transformation of suburban Tysons Corner into a thriving downtown.

Among the conditions, Peters said in her letter, is a sweeping demand that Virginia and the Metro system guarantee the capital investment necessary to maintain and operate Metro. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority recently identified $489 million in “urgent unfunded capital needs,” Peters said.

Virginia better not drop the ball on this one.

There is a chat about the decision going on right now on washingtonpost.com.

EARLIER: Silver line back on track?!

UPDATE 6:30 a.m. Thursday: I will be posting more about this topic after 12 p.m. today, so check back later.

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Two Nats chats and a 4:35 p.m. first pitch

Live chat with Mark Zuckerman: April 30, 2008The Wash. Times
“Slight change to Wednesday’s live chat; Mark Zuckerman will be here for a 12:30 start rather than 1 p.m. So, mark your virtual calendars, and we’ll see you on Wednesday at 12:30.

If you already have a question ready, send it to natsmailbag@washingtontimes.com or click the link above so it will be waiting for Mark when he’s ready to chat.”

Washington NationalsThe Post
“Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga will be online Wednesday, April 30 at 3 p.m. ET to take your questions and comments about the Washington Nationals.”

Don’t forget, the first pitch is at 4:35 p.m. If you live or work in the District, you are probably aware of this fact and are not really excited about tonight’s commute. This is the only day game during the week of the 2008 season, so the likely headaches will only happen once. I wish I wasn’t so busy, otherwise I’d be there. Hopefully, there will be regular 1:05 p.m. weekday games next summer.

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Zimmerman, Nats beat Atlanta, but Cordero is hurt

WASHINGTON 6 Atlanta 3 Boxscore (CBS Sports)

For a Night, Nationals See Vintage ZimmermanThe Post
Nationals win but likely lose CorderoThe Wash. Times
Zimmerman’s bat shows upThe Free Lance-Star
Nationals beat Glavine, hand Braves 3rd staight lossAJC
3B Ryan Zimmerman went 3 for 4 with a one-run homer into the Red Porch in the 3rd and the game winning two-run double in 7th off of Blaine Boyer. 1B Nick Johnson also homered in the 3rd off of Tom Glavine whose six innings of work yielded a no decision. Tim Redding, who also pitched six innings and gave up two runs, did not get the decision either. Saul Rivera (2-1) picked up the win for his one inning of work in the seventh.

Chad Cordero came in the ninth to mop up, but had to leave with a strained shoulder. He will probably have to go on the DL for at least 15 days.

Larkin comes to encourage hitters, coachThe Wash. Times
Larkin: Hitting woes are fixableThe Free Lance-Star
Larkin lends a helping hand to Natsnationals.com
Assistant to the GM and former Red (redundant) Barry Larkin is spending a couple of days in Washington to talk to the Nationals about hitting. He then heads off to China (mentioned in the next article down) to work with that country’s Olympic baseball team.

Hill ‘Babying’ Forearm Pain Between StartsThe Post
RHP Shawn Hill still has forearm pain, but will try to pitch through it again tonight. He doesn’t throw off of the mound between starts or play long toss. He has not exceeded five innings pitched in either of his 2008 starts.

Nationals release reliever Kingnationals.com
LOOGY Ray King has become a free agent rather than report to AAA-Columbus.

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