Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dulles Rail Costs Could Increase Between $3-$6 Million a Month

According to an article by Bill Turque in today's Washington Post, starting tomorrow, the estimated cost of the proposed Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport, currently $2.7 billion, will go up between $3 million and $6 million a month.

The cost escalation is part of the terms of the contract between Virginia and airport officials and a private construction consortium headed by Bechtel Inc. It is tied to the federal government?s review of the project to determine whether it qualifies for $900 million in funding under the Federal Transit Administration?s New Starts program. That review is not complete.

In a Washington Examiner article by Bill Flook, MWAA spokeswoman Tara Hamilton said that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is managing the Dulles rail project, "has asked the FTA to approve an agreement that would hold off the Aug. 1 cost escalation."

A report last week from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General said, "If this deadline is not met - and it appears unlikely that it will be - the effects on project costs could be significant."

Virginia Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer said delays would increase the price tag by $3 to $6 million each month.

The FTA is weighing whether to commit $900 million to the first phase. Next month, the agency is expected to release the results of two separate reviews of the project that will determine whether the project is eligible for that money.

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