Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Airports Authority Set to Increase Fees on the Dulles Toll Road to Pay for Dulles Rail

Today's big news is about the Dulles Toll Road. According to lots of media reports, The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is proposing a toll increase along the Dulles Toll Road to help fund the Dulles rail project.

The Washington Business Journal quotes MWAA spokeswoman Tara Hamilton who said, “We are responsible for the rail going through the corridor as well as making improvements to the toll road, so the toll increase will back revenue bonds for the rail line. We're treating the corridor as one entity."

"The tolls will back revenue bonds the group plans to sell this summer. The MWAA will determine who can buy the bonds as well as the increments in which they will be sold by the end of August. According to the MWAA’s report at Tuesday’s meeting, the gross toll revenue collected on the Dulles Toll Road will need to increase from about $65 million in 2008 to $87 million in 2010 and $220 million by 2020 in order to cover the potential debt from bonds. It expects to issue $2.9 billion in bonds over the next five years."

The Business Journal notes that the Metrorail, which will stretch from West Falls Church to Route 772 in Loudoun County, is under construction and slated for completion by the end of 2016. The federal government has contributed $900 million to the project and Virginia has paid $275 million. Other partners are the MWAA, which will pay $215 million, Loudoun County, which will contribute $252 million, and Fairfax County, which will add $846 million to the pot. The remainder of the $5.2 billion needed to complete the line will come from debt secured by toll revenue.

The Washington Post's Loudoun Extra reports that the authority has planned a series of public hearings for this year, and its 13-member board of directors will vote on the matter in the fall. "But with so much of the rail project dependent on toll revenue, it is not a question of whether the tolls will increase but whether the changes will take place incrementally or all at once.

"Under the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority proposal, tolls would go up incrementally, starting in January. It costs 75 cents to drive through the main plaza and 50 cents to use one of the on- or offramps. The proposal, subject to approval by the authority's board of directors, would increase the main toll to $1.50 by 2012, and the ramp toll would rise to 75 cents.

"Under the proposal, tolls at the main plaza and the ramps would increase by 25 cents next year; only the main plaza toll would rise thereafter, by a quarter in 2011 and another quarter in 2012."

For the latest Loudoun County traffic news and information, subscribe to Loudoun County Traffic via your favorite RSS reader, or get Loudoun County Traffic by e-mail.

No comments:

Post a Comment