The project is being paid for largely through cash from the Dulles Toll Road, and local lawmakers are concerned that its ballooning cost could force tolls to climb painfully high.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is controlling the Dulles Metrorail project, was hoping to get a low-interest federal loan to defray some of the costs and keep tolls reasonable. But in a private meeting with LaHood Wednedsday, those hopes were dashed.
According to several people involved in the meeting, LaHood told the Airports Authority there's no way the Obama administration can give them the $1.7 billion they asked for, especially not in this economic climate.
Loudoun County Chairman Scott York was in on the meeting. He says LaHood told the Authority his department is not a "cash cow." A spokesman for LaHood declined to comment.
CLARIFICATION: The headline on this story was changed to reflect the fact that LaHood has not yet taken any official action regarding the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority's loan request.