Culberson not backing off Richmond rail opposition
In a story that speculates on the impact of the rail issue on the Martha Wong/Ellen Cohen race in November, Rad Sallee also treats the issue of Richmond rail more generally, and the position of Rep. John Culberson, who will become a minority member of the House Appropriations Committee next year:
Culberson is a rail skeptic. Except for his stand against Metro studying rail on Richmond, he has been generally supportive of Metro's rail plans since voters approved a Metro-backed referendum in 2003
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, his support has been crucial in Metro's effort to obtain federal rail funding. Metro officials say it is too early to tell whether his influence will wane when Democrats gain control of Congress in January, possibly with newly elected Democrat Nick Lampson of Stafford on the Appropriations Committee.
Culberson has often said the views of those who live and work on Richmond itself carry more weight with him than those elsewhere.
He said last week that nothing in the Nov. 7 result gave reason to soften his opposition to the Richmond rail.
"Every election is about personalities and party affiliation and issues. It's about who the district wants to represent them," he said.
Culberson said the only referendum that counts was the 2003 transit referendum that approved the rail plan, and whose ballot said "Westpark."
November postings from a pro-Richmond rail blog that sometimes acts as the adjunct public relations arm for METRO on the topic of Richmond rail suggest that METRO is planning to move ahead on Richmond rail despite Rep. Culberson's opposition and the referendum language. The wild card was whether the election would soften Rep. Culberson's position. The answer would seem to be a resounding No.
UPDATE: I should note that Democratic political scientists Richard Murray and Bicyclist Bob Stein both made an appearance in Sallee's story. It's probably also worth noting that Zogby, rather than Murray/Stein, handled the Chronicle's polling for the last election. Perhaps the Chronicle decided it didn't want another methodological fiasco like the Murray/Stein DeLay polling from earlier this year.