Next week, the cost of a ride on the Dulles Toll Road is going up a quarter. It'll now cost up to $2 per trip. But that's nothing compared to how high the tolls will be in 30 years.
Drivers are filling up their tanks here at this gas station in Reston, Va., just a few hundred yards from the main highway that links Dulles Airport with the rest of Northern Virginia. Everyone has a limit on how much they'd be willing to pay to get on the Toll Road. For some it's $2. For others it's $5.
Well, how about $10? That's how much one trip on the Dulles Toll Road could cost in the year 2041.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will be gradually raising toll rates every year until then. They're using revenue from the Toll Road to build the Metrorail extension out to Dulles Airport, what's known as the Silver Line.
Airports Authority spokesperson Tara Hamilton says this means toll road drivers can see how their money's being used just by looking out their car windows.
"They know where their money is going because they see very tangible evidence of the Metrorail construction project that's been under way now for some time," Hamilton says.
The Airports Authority has already borrowed against their future toll revenue to pay for the Silver Line, so tolls might actually be higher than $10 if the revenue is less than expected.