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Even the president can't buck rush hour

Aug. 25, 2006 at 3:25 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The Secret Service asked Virginia to close key HOV lanes during rush hour to get U.S. President George Bush to a political fundraiser -- and was turned down.

The Washington Post reported even the leader of the Free World can't buck Washington's gridlock.

The Secret Service asked state officials to close the center HOV lanes of I-395 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, which would have created a traffic jam for the average driver that would not have been cleared until 10 p.m., the Post said.

Bush was headed for a fundraiser for U.S. Sen. George Allen, R-Va., who is running for re-election.

The Post said unnamed Virginia officials were stunned by the request: If they had granted it, commuter buses normally using the high-speed lanes would have to be rerouted or canceled and the thousands of multi-passenger cars normally in the HOV lanes would be added to the already crowded lanes of I-95.

"It would give a new meaning to political gridlock in D.C.," John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, told the newspaper. "You have to wonder, What were they thinking?"

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