Friday, July 17, 2009

Airports Authority to Hold Public Hearings on Proposed Toll Increases

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is moving forward with a process to potentially increase tolls on the Dulles Toll Road.

The Fairfax Times reports that two committees of the authority’s Board of Directors endorsed the process on Wednesday afternoon. There will be three public hearings in August and September to gather public input on the proposed the toll increase, and then the board will vote on the proposed increase this fall.

The public hearings on the proposed rate increases are scheduled for:

  • Monday, Aug. 24, 5-8 p.m. at Ashburn Elementary School, 44062 Finncastle Dr., Ashburn
  • Thursday, Sept. 3, 5-8 p.m. at McLean High School, 1633 Davidson Road in McLean
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9, 5-8 p.m., at South Lakes High School, 11400 South Lakes Drive in Reston.

The Washington Post reports that "higher tolls have long been planned to help raise money for the 23-mile Silver Line connecting the East Falls Church Metro station with Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County. Construction on the eastern portion, through Tysons Corner and ending in Reston, has begun. That stretch is expected to be operational by 2013.

"The project is receiving local, state and federal funding, including a $900 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration. But more than half of the cost is expected to be covered by toll road proceeds, essentially ensuring that the tolls will continue to climb beyond 2012.

"I would hope that regionally we will press for more federal funding," said Scott K. York (I), chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and a member of the advisory committee."

The public hearing process will begin for the proposed toll rate increase of 25 cents at the Main Toll Plaza and 25 cents at the ramps of the Dulles Toll Road. The proposed toll increase would take effect in 2010, if approved by the full Board later this year.

Additionally, under this proposal, in 2011, the toll at the Main Plaza would increase by 25 cents and there would be another 25 cent increase at the Main Plaza in 2012. There would not be increases at the ramp areas during those years.

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