Jul 12, 2023 - Politics
Town Talker

DMV mix: Yacht rock, Metro mess, and Takoma's July 4 downer

Illustration of a Metro train with a front window shaped like a danger sign.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

D.C.-area power brokers will meet at a retreat this weekend to wrestle with Metro’s $750 million budget gap.

Why it matters: The talks come weeks after the transit authority sent up a flare about having to make drastic cuts to Metro and bus service next year.

What I'm hearing: Leaders from outstate Maryland and Virginia will need convincing that they should kick in millions more for Beltway commuters, says Clark Mercer, the new head of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which is holding the summit on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

  • Mercer's pitch: Metro is an economic development supercharger, generating tax revenue for all.

The bottom line: Getting DMV honchos to reach across the river isn't easy. It’s up to Mercer, a former Northam aide who just moved to Alexandria from Richmond.

🙄 Border failure: Here’s hoping Metro talks go better than July 4 on the Takoma line.

  • This year, the Maryland side (that’s Takoma Park) had its parade detoured. The winding route historically dipped into Takoma D.C. for one block before returning to Maryland.
  • Yes, but: "We were notified [by D.C.] less than 3 weeks before the 4th of July that we would need to secure a permit, and were routed to a permitting process that I understand is normally begun 6 months before an event and was quite extensive,” parade organizer Tara Egan tells me in an email. The parade instead stayed in Maryland.

Maybe that sounds petty, but it's the story of the DMV’s divisions writ small.

🛥️ Power party: Speaking of the Fourth, Mayor Muriel Bowser was spotted that evening aboard the superyacht of tech entrepreneur Alan Dabbiere for a hush-hush bash. Heronner only stayed briefly on the Constance, which is becoming a Washington character of its own right as a mega presence at The Wharf.

  • Be smart: Constance has since sailed off to the Bahamas, according to an online ship tracker.

💬 Avast ye, yachtsmen: the orcas are revolting. Town Talker is a weekly column about local politics and power. Send me tips and party spotteds: [email protected].

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