The below represents an original letter sent to Fairfax County officials on August 20, 2020.
Now that Silver Line service has resumed in Tysons — earlier than originally expected — we want to thank key staff and elected officials at Fairfax County government for their help and leadership during what has been a uniquely difficult summer.
When the shutdown was first announced in late April, Tysons employers, workers and residents had little advance notice to prepare. We were able to meet the resulting challenges via collaboration between County government, WMATA, businesses, and our elected officials. By quickly addressing issues, such as the need for expanding replacement shuttle service to the McLean and Greensboro stations, we succeeded in moving past the initial communications missteps. Significantly, a definitive re-open date, one several weeks ahead of schedule, was announced in June.
We appreciate WMATA’s response to concerns about the Silver Line shutdown expressed by the Tysons Partnership and community at large, and we are grateful that service in Tysons resumed earlier than previously expected. Perhaps the greater good that grew from these events is the establishment of the task force that helped navigate us all throughout the shutdown. Composed of representatives from WMATA, FCDOT, elected officials, Tysons employers, and Tysons Partnership staff, the task force met regularly to improve coordination and discuss the shutdown impacts. We are pleased the task force will continue its work as a permanent channel of communication between WMATA and the Tysons community. That collaboration is already underway to identify how best to revive transit ridership, which is taking a hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 22, the Washington Post published an op-ed which I co-authored with Chair McKay and Supervisor Palchik. We wrote, “Tysons and the entire region will benefit as decisions about transit incorporate and reflect a process resting on transparency, collaboration and partnership.” Several months later, our progress makes clear that Tysons and the entire region benefit from collaboration and partnership in handling major transit decisions. Created to meet a crisis, the Tysons Partnership Silver Line Task Force will now be a means for partnering to ensure transit necessary for post-pandemic reopening and economic recovery.
Transit is a basic utility in Tysons, not an amenity or a luxury. WMATA’s resumption of Silver Line service in Tysons is a necessary precondition for a successful reopening and economic recovery, given that Tysons is home to a concentration of economic resources that help power Fairfax County and the region. Transit is foundational to the success of the urban experiment that is shaping the future in Tysons for decades to come.
President & CEO