Thursday, January 8, 2009

U.S. Transportation Chief Backs Dulles Rail Project

According to today's Washington Post Loudoun Extra, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters gave the final federal seal of approval to plans to extend Metrorail to Dulles International Airport last night, ensuring that the $5.2 billion project can move forward without restrictions.

The Post reports that, "After a series of regulatory setbacks in 2008, rail to Dulles was revived last month when the Federal Transit Administration discarded long-standing skepticism about the project's cost and management and sent it on to Peters for final action. Yesterday's news marks what state, local and congressional boosters said is the government's irreversible approval of the project."
The Silver Line will stretch 23 miles from Falls Church to the airport and into Loudoun County. Backers say it will carry as many as 60,000 riders a day, providing a major commuting alternative for the thousands of drivers who take the jammed Dulles Toll Road each day from their homes in Reston, Herndon and the outer suburbs to jobs in Tysons Corner and the District.
The Post added, "In addition to the federal grant, costs will be paid by special real estate tax districts in Tysons Corner and Reston, contributions from Fairfax and Loudoun counties, and revenue from toll increases on the Dulles Toll Road. The project will be managed for Virginia by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which also operates the Dulles Toll Road. The authority, over time, will institute toll increases to help fund construction."

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