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State and Local Governments Fight Expensive Dulles Rail Project

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The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has decided to place a Metro station at Dulles Airport above ground, rather than below.
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The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has decided to place a Metro station at Dulles Airport above ground, rather than below.

The Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority has already votedto shell out an additional $330 million on a more expensive plan to build a planned new Metro station at Dulles underground. The alternative, an above ground station, would have put the stop further from the airport's terminal.

More than 20 percent of the funding for the rail project is set to come from Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and the Virginia Department of Transportation. But these three entities don't like the price tag of the construction cost.

They say building an above-ground station instead would be cheaper, involve less risk, and be completed in less time. Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York told WAMU's David Schultz last week that he was "very disappointed" the MWAA board chose the pricier option for the station.

VDOT is also opposing the new station because it says it would have to raise the tolls on the Dulles Toll Road to pay for its share. The local and state entities say they intend to send a letter demanding that they be included in building decisions involving the Dulles Rail project.

Even though state and local governments are set to help fund the metro construction, the Airports Authority has final say on the project.

CORRECTION: The original version of this story misstated the status of the letter from Fairfax and Loudoun Counties and VDOT. The letter has been drafted but has not yet been sent.

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