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Cuccinelli opposes Silver Line, McAuliffe uses odd map

Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli doesn't want to finish the Silver Line, and Terry McAuliffe, his Democratic rival, is pointing it out. Though something's a little funny with McAuliffe's map...

Image from Terry McAuliffe.

Cuccinelli said on WMAL radio earlier this month in 2011 that "I hope they don't do Phase Two," the segment from Wiehle Avenue to Dulles Airport and on to Loudoun County. This week, he reiterated his belief that it's not cost-effective.

Tom Jackman reported in 2011:

Cuccinelli called the project an "economic boondoggle" and that "the cost-benefit just is not there." He said the issue would be a central feature of the Loudoun board of supervisor elections this year, and that "I hope [voters] elect an entire board who's committed to pulling out of Phase Two to kill it."
McAuliffe made this a campaign issue during some recent campaign stops. In response McAuliffe's attacks, Fredrick Kunkle wrote in the Post, "Cuccinelli's campaign said he would seek more cost-effective ways than the rail project to address Virginia's perennial traffic woes."

McAuliffe's ad shows a Metro map with the Silver Line, but with the new line Xed out, and the caption, "This is Cuccinelli's Virginia." But look again at that map. It's acutally Neil Flanagan's fantasy Metro map from 2009:

Image from Neil Flanagan.

This isn't the first time someone probably went on Google Images to look for a Metro map, found a fantasy map, and used it by mistake. A cheesesteak shop on U Street used one of my fantasy maps, also with a separate Blue Line, on their menu:

Not to mention the time MediaBistro used the same map for one of their ads.

Hopefully this means that if McAuliffe wins the governorship, he'll also support new Metro lines, even in DC? Joking aside, though, it's also important for voters to know where each gubernatorial candidate stands on one of the most important transportation projects in Northern Virginia.

Thanks to reader ARM for the tip.

Update: I confused a recent Post article about the Silver Line and the campaign with one from 2011. Cuccinelli's statements against the Silver Line on WMAL came in 2011, but he reiterated his opposition more recently. I've added in the more recent information and clarified which parts are from 2011.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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Phase two isn't the same as the debate in Loudoun for their two stations. MWAA was always going to build to Dulles (be real dumb of them not to since it's their project and their airport) but it was up to Loudoun to see if they wanted to pay $300M to help build two stations beyond that. Of course, they decided they would so that's that.

So there is no killing of phase 2. So Cuccinelli is also just wrong on that front and apparently wasn't paying attention while all this was going on. Presumably he was too busy trying to fire UVA professors and covering up the nudity on the state seal.

by drumz on Jun 20, 2013 3:02 pm • linkreport

It's good to know that Cuccinelli is interested in the cost-benefit of large infrastructure projects. I'm sure all the road building VDOT has done and wants to do meets his stringent requirements.

by thump on Jun 20, 2013 3:04 pm • linkreport

I heard E.W. Jackson wants to ban homosexuals from riding on the Silver Line. :)

by Resident on Jun 20, 2013 3:09 pm • linkreport

re: the fantasy map...this is hilarious! So much for his attention to detail. Bet he'll make a great contribution to the future of VA and the greater Metro region. "Let's build more highways and stripmalls, folks."

by Mark on Jun 20, 2013 3:10 pm • linkreport

@Thump - zing

Thats what I always find funny about the transit savers of the world. Where are they when a 1.1 billion dollar freight road carrying 1/5th the number of commuters is planned? Strange strange, its as if they have alternative motives or something.

I still say if Loudoun pulls out, then its actually better for the silver line and Fairfax. Lower operation cost, shorter round trip therefore atleast an extra train per hour, and the $300 million doesn't even cover Loudoun's equivalent cost anyways (2 stations and 6 miles).

If Loudoun were to pull out then I say make parking at the Silver line Fairfax resident only and make loudoun bus there. They don't get something for nothing.

Either way, theres no stopping the silver line now, its been awarded with existing money, so its all blathering anyways.

by Tysons Engineer on Jun 20, 2013 3:10 pm • linkreport

interesting to see Cooch opposing the reelection of the majority of the LoCo BOS, ALL OF WHOM are Republicans.

That should go over well with the LoCo GOP (and should get the FFX GOP thinking as well)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 20, 2013 3:11 pm • linkreport

"I still say if Loudoun pulls out,"

the current LoCo BOS is all GOP. Any shift is like to mean at least a couple of Dems, likely even more pro Silver Line than the current BOS.

For the LoCo BOS to reverse course (which would be a big legal exposure, since contracts are already being let) you'd have to have all the current pro Silver Line repubs (who supported the position of the LoCo Chamber of Commerce) replaced by tea partiers. And still keep a GOP majority on the BOS.

Thats a tea party fantasy.

I dont think Cooch thought that one through.

Rather more careless of detail then simply picking a map from the internet.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 20, 2013 3:17 pm • linkreport

Actually, the Loudoun Board voted in favor of the project almost one year ago - July 3, 2012.

Also, the Loudoun Board is not up for reelection this year; they have another two and 1/2 years left in this term.

A last note - had the Board not opted in to the project Phase 2 would not have gone forward in the near term, if at all. We would instead be sitting with a train terminating in Reston for much longer than the current SCHEDULED 5 years.
Just ask Jack Potter, CEO of MWAA, who addressed the issue just today.

by Mary on Jun 20, 2013 3:30 pm • linkreport

I'm currently looking for a job, so if McAuliffe is looking for a transportation planner, I'm available. I'm totally unqualified for the job, but then again, so's Ken Cuccinelli.

by Neil Flanagan on Jun 20, 2013 3:41 pm • linkreport

Cooch you're a moron! Even if you could stop the silver line at this point (which is unlikely given how far the contracting process has already gone) you wouldn't end up costing more money than you would if you just finish building it! But of course, that kind of rhetoric sounds great to dumb ass conservative hicks in Richmond who wouldn't know a bus from a train if you smacked them in the face with it.

by Matt on Jun 20, 2013 3:43 pm • linkreport

The article with Cuccinelli's quote was written in June 2011, not "earlier this month".

by Mel on Jun 20, 2013 3:45 pm • linkreport

Mel: Oops! I've corrected the post. Cuccinelli did say some things recently that indicate he still opposes it, and I've added those in as well as clarifying what's from 2011.

by David Alpert on Jun 20, 2013 3:51 pm • linkreport

okay well that takes away the insult to the sitting LoCo BOS.

Still kind of embarrasing though.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 20, 2013 3:51 pm • linkreport

"In response, Cuccinelli’s campaign said he would seek more cost-effective ways than the rail project to address Virginia’s perennial traffic woes, such as by giving localities more control over transportation projects. "

but both FFX and LoCo SUPPORTED this project.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 20, 2013 3:54 pm • linkreport

I wonder if there's a copyright or trademark issue with using the actual Metro map -- e.g. Metro doesn't want to look like it's playing political favorites so it tells politicians they can't use Metro graphics -- so people use these unofficial maps instead.

by Gavin on Jun 20, 2013 3:58 pm • linkreport

It is odd how McAuliffe's campaign uses a fantasy Metro Map. Gavin may be right in that there is a copyright issue, so grab a close enough image off of the net.

Someone should ask Cuccinelli his opinion of the current Metro system and whether he as Governor would support the annual subsidies from VA or would try to cut them. My guess is that not all that deep down, the Cooch would agree with those who posted the Metro is Evil signs in Loudoun last year during the Silver Line funding debate. Then there is the Republican Lt. Gov candidate who thinks the same about Yoga.

This is going to be one wacky election year in Virginia.

by AlanF on Jun 20, 2013 4:47 pm • linkreport

It's clear Terry McAuliffe, a limousine liberal, doesn't ride Metro or he'd have known his map was as phony as a $3 bill.

by Art Kelly on Jun 20, 2013 4:57 pm • linkreport

It's clear Terry McAuliffe...doesn't ride Metro

He don't stay in NoVa.

by C. Milloy on Jun 20, 2013 5:18 pm • linkreport

Another nail in the Coochie's coffin.

by h st ll on Jun 20, 2013 6:59 pm • linkreport

I love that they ex-ed out stations that are currently on the Orange line and would still exist even if the Silver line were never built. Oh, and Silver line stations that are basically built and are going into service later this year.

by recyclist on Jun 20, 2013 7:57 pm • linkreport

I could never understand the knee-jerk conservative hostility to any public or rail-based transportation project. It seems to be ideologically driven than based in any policy or concern.

by Rain17 on Jun 20, 2013 8:44 pm • linkreport

Hopefully this gaffe puts Neil's map back on the spotlight. I always thought this was one of the most credible and innovative plans for core expansion.

by Dave Murphy on Jun 21, 2013 3:44 am • linkreport

For those interested, our Metro expansion plans extend the Silver Line even further.

To the east of Congress South station, we extend the Silver Line to Lincoln Park and the "Starburst" (foot of Blandensburg, H Street, Maryland Avenue, Benning).

This converts wasted effort (too many trains) of the Silver Line past Congress South. As currently planned, Silver Line trains will be going to New Carrolton or Largo. This will create half empty trains at Peak.

Building this option would REDUCE system operating costs while adding needed service to eastern DC, AND increased ridership/fares,

Lower costs, higher revenue,

Beyond that point, Metro could go elevated in the center of Bladensburg into Maryland, and then along side the CSX tracks.

We have speculated on some options for extension past Starburst. My favorite is merging with the Green Line just after it comes out of the tunnel going towards College Park. This gives a diverse set of route options as future urban development may alter some travel patterns.

The case for Silver Line East to "Starburst" is compelling.

The other extension goes to Leesburg and uses hybrid Metro cars with overhead pantographs as well as 3rd rail shoes (such vehicles exist elsewhere). This hybrid can operate on Metro or Light Rail.

At Peak, service would be between Leesburg and Tyson's Corner. Only a single track in the highway median might be needed past the Phase II stations. (Depends on frequency of service desired).

Those from Leesburg wanting to go past Tyson's Corner would need to make a platform transfer.

Most of this Leesburg service would be in empty time slots on Phase I & II Silver Line track.

by Alan Drake (AlanfromBigEasy) on Jun 21, 2013 9:12 am • linkreport

It's clear Terry McAuliffe, a limousine liberal, doesn't ride Metro or he'd have known his map was as phony as a $3 bill.

I'm fairly certain that McAuliffe did not personally pick out the graphics and design the ad. At most, he looked at the content and message to approve it but certainly wasn't copy-editing the map to ensure accuracy.

by Falls Church on Jun 21, 2013 10:17 am • linkreport

The claim that it wasn't McAuliffe's fault that his map of the Metro system was phony shows that he is sloppy in delegating responsibilities. If he can't find someone who knows something about Metro to create a map of Metro for his own ads, imagine what horrors await if he were elected governor.

by Art Kelly on Jun 21, 2013 12:12 pm • linkreport

The claim that it wasn't McAuliffe's fault that his map of the Metro system was phony shows that he is sloppy in delegating responsibilities

Why does it matter whether he uses a fantasy metro map or a real one? In case you haven't noticed, few things are real in advertisements. For example, that burger you see in a McDonalds ad is not a real burger. It's a fake model of a burger that's designed to meet the needs of filming. That goes for any person you see on TV. That's not what they really look like. It's all makeup and lighting.

Granted, using the wrong map accidentally is a little sloppy. It's sloppy at the level of a goof or anachronism that doesn't get caught in a movie. Even the very best directors have overlooked goofs in their movies.

by Falls Church on Jun 21, 2013 1:15 pm • linkreport

Not only did McAuliffe use a phony map of the Metro system, his ad X-ed out existing Metro stations on the Orange line, showing that he has NO comprehension of the difference between the long-existing Orange line, the under-construction Silver line, and the still-planned completion of the Silver line.

Since McAuliffe isn't really from Virginia, he probably had some out-of-state outfit do the ad, which he never reviewed. This shows very bad judgement on his part.

by Art Kelly on Jun 21, 2013 4:13 pm • linkreport

For all those bashing McAuliffe, clearly Cooch is then the correct choice for the pro-transit crew since he is pro-transit?

by MLD on Jun 21, 2013 4:23 pm • linkreport

Since McAuliffe isn't really from Virginia

Spending most of his adult life here isn't enough?

I'm sorry for engaging you anyway. Anyone this concerned with graphic design choices rather than the substance of the ad (that Cooch wants to stop phase 2 and thinks that's still in the cards) isn't really in it to wonder how McAuliffe could have done it better.

by drumz on Jun 21, 2013 4:30 pm • linkreport

actually xing out the orange line stations is appropriate. You want to X out the silver line STOPs at those stations. Anyone thinking those stops are the SAME if the Silver line goes away, is clearly not familiar with the proposed operation of the Silver line. And is probably from out of state.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 21, 2013 4:36 pm • linkreport


Pro transit vs trans probes

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 21, 2013 4:37 pm • linkreport

Also, Cuccuinelli's problems start well before we get to the relatively issues like transportation so I'm not particularly worried about this.

by drumz on Jun 21, 2013 4:43 pm • linkreport

Anyone really from Northern Virginia would immediately recognize a phony map of the Metro system. But of course, McAuliffe is a limousine liberal with no contact with real people.

by Art Kelly on Jun 21, 2013 5:07 pm • linkreport

The McAuliffe apologists are as out of touch with reality as their candidate. Let me help them:

The Orange Line has Virginia stations in Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, Virginia Square, Ballston, East Falls Church, West Falls Church, Dunn Loring, and Vienna. They have been there for a LONG time.

By contrast, the first phase of the Silver Line is under construction. The second phase is still being planned. That planned extension is where the controversy rests.

Try hard to understand the differences. If it is too difficult, get on a Metro train and observe things first hand. Then maybe you can explain it to the baffled McAuliffe.

by Art Kelly on Jun 21, 2013 5:21 pm • linkreport

@Art Kelly, Phase 2 of the Silver Line is beyond "being planned." The primary construction contract has been awarded and the Notice to Proceed is expected to be made in July.

A staffer on his campaign or at a hired political consulting firm presumably picked out the map and slapped together the ad. It is the nature of political campaigns that ads or flyers get created, released, and the next day they move on and create more ads. Stuff gets cranked out. The point of the ad is correct: Cuccinelli has stated his opposition to Phase 2 of the Silver Line, although don't know his opinion on Phase 1. Or extending the Orange Line either.

That you label McAuliffe a "limousine liberal" says more about you than him. The guy is pretty much a Clintonite, which puts him in the middle of the political spectrum. Regardless, the VA Governor and Lt. Gov campaigns will be the mud slingiest for VA in memory. Time to stock up on the popcorn.

by AlanF on Jun 21, 2013 6:05 pm • linkreport

I seriously doubt McAuliffe has ever ridden the Metro to and from work on a regular basis.

Knowing what you are talking about is crucial in government and politics. It is clear McAuliffe and his campaign aides know NOTHING about the existing and future Metro lines!

And exactly what kind of luxury car does McAuliffe drive?

by Art Kelly on Jun 21, 2013 10:07 pm • linkreport

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