WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A decision on changes to a CSX tunnel in the D.C. area has been delayed.

DCSafeRail, a group devoted to safety and security in the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion project, released a statement after D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton announced that the Federal Highway Administration will delay a decision on the CSX tunnel expansion until after September 15 for the District of Columbia Council to hold a hearing. The hearing will take place on August 26.

"All of us at DCSafeRail extend a heartfelt thanks to Congresswoman Norton for supporting the need for local input into this transportation project with far- and long-reaching implications," said Maureen Cohen Harrington of DCSafeRail in a written statement. "We also thank FHWA for heeding her appeal and delaying the CSX decision. However, as we've said repeatedly, a final decision on the CSX expansion should NOT be made until the Council's DC Rail Plan is complete. This analysis of all rail service in the District will allow the coordinated expansion of passenger, commuter, and freight service. We must not let CSX dictate transportation policy for the District. And we must not allow this policy, and the grant of new right of way to CSX, to have been made behind closed doors. The entire environmental review was tainted by secret agreements between CSX and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) that were only recently – and incompletely – revealed. The need for Council oversight is critical."

Representatives of the group say they plan to attend the council hearing and speak to the press.


DCSafeRail representatives say they asked DDOT to delay a final decision for the CSX tunnel expansion until the rail plan and Council oversight are complete.