Political Notebook

Political Notebook

Wolf Calls for Review of War Strategy

<bt>After spending a week in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) said Friday he wants President George W. Bush to convene a panel of individuals with military and foreign policy experience to go to Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East to comprehensively review the U.S. war effort.

"My motive behind the appointment of the group is not to find fault with the U.S. effort there now," Wolf said in a report on his trip. "Such an independent, comprehensive review could help to assure Americans Ñ no matter what their opinion is on the war Ñ that every effort possible is being made to protect our troops and realize our goal of a secure and peaceful Iraq."

A second opinion, Wolf said, could offer the military and American public "fresh eyes on the target."

"Progress is being made. The American people need to know that," Wolf said. "Mistakes have been made, too, and I believe the American public is an understanding public and are willing to forgive as mistakes are acknowledged."

To read Wolf's full report, go to www.house.gov/wolf.

<sh>New Partner in Toll Road Bid

<bt>Macquarie Infrastructure Group has joined a consortium, which has proposed taking over the Dulles Toll Road in exchange for about $1 billion.

Macquarie is an Australian company that holds interests in toll roads around the world. Macquarie recently announced that they have purchased the Dulles Greenway.

The consortium had noted that one of its members, the Italian company Autostrade, already operates the toll road, and therefore their members would control operations along a stretch of road from the Beltway to Leesburg.

Curtis Coward, a member of the consortium, touted the addition of Macquarie. "Now we would have the owner and the operator," he said.

Macquarie approached the consortium just after they filed their proposal, Coward said.

The consortium's proposal came as an unsolicited bid under Virginia's Public-Private Partnership act. The group would take over the road and its toll revenue for 50 years. In exchange, they would provide the state share of funding for phase one of the proposed Metro line to Dulles airport, and to make 19 other roadway improvements. The total of cash and other construction projects is about $ 1 billion.

Coward said that even with the newly revised cost estimated for the first phase of the toll road project Ñ about $1.8 billion, his group's offer will be able to pay the state share about 25 percent of the total cost.

The proposal is subject to a competitive bid period to allow other companies to present other proposals, which runs until the end of October.