Following a District of Columbia Council hearing on a resolution calling for a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project in D.C., Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ranking Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, said she supports the Council's efforts. Last December, Norton wrote Representative Tom Petri (R-WI), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, requesting a subcommittee hearing on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project, as the Council's resolution now calls for. The subcommittee was willing to have a meeting, but declined Norton's request for a hearing on the project.
"The Council is right that a congressional hearing would be appropriate," said Norton. "Although the CSX tunnel project is privately financed, federal issues also are implicated, as indicated by the involvement of the Federal Highway Administration as the lead federal agency. Moreover, there is a clear federal interest, considering efforts nationwide concerning freight infrastructure. There are several outstanding issues involved with the project that are both local and national, especially concerns such as noise, air quality, and construction near homes and senior housing, that the Environmental Impact Statement is tasked to help resolve."
Norton held meetings last November and in January with the surrounding community near Capitol Hill. The meetings heard presentations from CSX, the Federal Highway Administration, and the D.C. Department of Transportation, and featured questions and remarks from community residents. Norton said both meetings made clear that many issues need federal oversight, including a proposed open trench during construction close to homes and senior housing, trains carrying hazardous material, and rerouting during construction.