Thursday, April 7, 2011

Commonwealth Expresses Concerns over MWAA Decision to Pursue Dulles Metrorail Rail Tunnel

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton expressed concerns in a letter to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) following their vote to build a tunnel through the Dulles International Airport rather than the proposed elevated track for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. The decision will likely add hundreds of millions to the project cost and places in jeopardy the original $2.5 billion estimate for completion of the next phase of work, a move objected to by state leaders.

"As you know, the Commonwealth asked MWAA to ensure the most cost effective construction for Phase 2 of the project, and the decision to pursue a tunnel alignment raises concerns about MWAA's commitment to the Commonwealth to ensure cost sensitive leadership," Connaughton said. "The tunnel alignment, by all accounts, is a more expensive alignment than the aerial option through the airport, and will place a heavy financial burden on local funding partners and Dulles Toll Road users."

The Commonwealth's goal is to advance Phase 2 of the project with a cost estimate as close to the original estimate of $2.5 billion as possible. State officials warned MWAA that its decision will mean difficult future decisions to trim the project budget will be necessary. State officials are also concerned about how high potential toll rates would need to be set to finance the tunnel options.

To read a copy of the letter, visit

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1 comment:

  1. Lonnie, Lincoln VaApril 8, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    They always have such a short view in Richmond - over the long term the tunnel is a radically better option for the actual users of the service.