In the decade after 9/11, nearly 1,000 veterans became victims of the administration designed to help them. The Department of Veterans Affairs paid more than $200 million in wrongful death claims.
According to the Center for Investigative Reporting's Aaron Glantz, the number of opiate medications—highly addictive painkillers like hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine—prescribed by the Veterans Administration has increased by 270 percent between 2001 and 2012, far outpacing the increase in patients. Dr. Basimah Khulusi, a former Veterans Affairs physician, has come forward as a whistleblower on this issue. She says the VA forced her out because patients complained that she wouldn't prescribe high doses of opiates.
As we've been reporting, Virginia is balking at a premium for union contracts on the project, and is threatening to pull funding.
Officials say Lahood, concerned that a crucial economic development project may be thwarted, has invited representatives from the Governor's office, MWAA, WMATA and Loudon and Fairfax counties to participate in the meeting.
Meantime, the Washington Airports Task Force issued the following statement today:
"We call upon all Dulles Rail funding stakeholders—MWAA leaders, federal, state and local government leaders, and WMATA’s management—to focus on resolving the issues concerning the second phase, in order to find the common ground that will enable Phase 2 of the Dulles Metrorail Project to move smartly forward to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County. In so calling, we applaud the further effort of U.S. Secretary Ray LaHood to save this project.
"The MWAA has managed Phase 1 essentially on cost and on time. It is now time to focus on the real issues, which are:
1) Funding Phase 2 without placing an unreasonable burden on Toll Road users.
2) Dropping the PLA preference, and instead requiring the contractor to provide a well-qualified and reliable workforce to build Phase 2 in a similar manner to Phase 1. The successful contractor should be left with the ability to use every tool in their toolbox to complete Phase 2 safely, within budget, on time and in conformance with Virginia’s right to work laws.
"America has built its greatness upon a pragmatic approach to business, science and politics. Pragmatism means working together to achieve what is best for the common good, and surrendering extreme desires in the interest of that common good.
"Extension of rail to Dulles/Loudoun County is a “Game Changer” for the whole region. The Dulles Metrorail Project will link the Dulles Corridor to the rest of the region. This project will benefit:
Ø Virginia, through increased revenue from the support of economic and employment growth in Northern Virginia.
Ø The District of Columbia, through economic and employment growth, and improved access to its international gateway for tourism.
Ø Maryland, by linking the entire Metrorail system to a corridor that now constitutes 25% of the entire Metro Region’s economy, bringing Maryland employers closer to Virginia residents and vice versa.
"It is unconscionable to think that, as a region, we would not move swiftly forward with the second phase of the Dulles Metrorail Project. If we did allow the project to fail, how could we, as one of the nation’s wealthiest areas, expect to solve the bigger transportation issues challenging our region, including swift multi-modal access between activity centers, relief for our congested highways, and creation of an effective, fair, sustainable source of regional infrastructure funding? "