RealNews

Washington Evacuation Could Be Trouble

Evacuating the capital city in the face of a terror attack or other emergency could be a major challenge, partly because “no one is in charge,” says the head of the transit system serving the city and its suburbs. There was near gridlock as workers tried to leave for Virginia and Maryland on Sept. 11, 2001, and Metro chief Richard White said Thursday the region cannot wait for the next time to decide on a chain of command and guidelines for possible situations. “We’re prepared on paper, but we’re not prepared on an operational level,” White said. No one person or group is authorized to make overall decisions, although individual agencies have their own emergency response plans. The District of Columbia’s population of 573,000 swells when 1.75 million workers and tourists arrive on an average workday. The federal government is likely to step in in a major emergency, but federal officials have not told local officials how because of security reasons, said Dave Snyder, chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ emergency transportation working group. Full Story

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