The Leesburg Town Council June 12 meeting concluded with a lengthy and comment-filled session regarding passing a resolution to support the Dulles Rail project.
At the end of the session - after numerous amendments and amendments to amendments – the Leesburg Town Council voted 5-2 to support the project, with Mayor Kristen Umstattd and Councilmember Tom Dunn casting the dissenting votes.
With the vote, Leesburg Town Council officially favors extending Metro into Loudoun County.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors must decide whether to extend the Metro from Reston to Ashburn by July 4.
Should the board approve the nearly $3 billion second phase of Dulles Rail, Metro will be extended to Ashburn with stations at Route 606 and Route 772.
Several people spoke during the petitions section of the meeting and asked that council stay out of the decision. Vice-Mayor Kevin Wright didn’t disagree with that thought.
“I don’t entirely disagree with those who have said not to grab this issue, however, the issues before us within the rules of council, this wouldn’t be the first time we have opined on an issue outside of our borders and this is one that does impact the Town of Leesburg,” Wright said. “All of our planning has talked about bringing regional transit and mass transit to the area. It is going to be needed. For me, its a matter of do we need Dulles Rail to be extended and I believe the answer to that question is ‘yes.’”
Dunn wanted to open the resolution up to a public hearing because he felt the resolution, as it stood, had no representation from the public, but just opinions from council.
“There is people wanting to enter into personal, ideological and political sentiment written into this resolution as a way of influencing the Board of Supervisors. That is what it is for,” Dunn said. “Otherwise, you will have the same ability that citizens have, which is pick up the phone, email or snail mail your Board of Supervisors and give them your personal views.
“This council has not heard, as a body, from the citizens. This resolution is not even a resolution for the citizens of Leesburg because we haven’t officially heard from them,” Dunn said. “It’s the opinions of seven individual people.”