WAMU 88.5 : News

Motorists Hit With 50-Cent Hike On Dulles Toll Road

Play associated audio
Drivers on the Dulles Toll Road will see a 50 cent bump in tolls.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bankbryan/1474188504/
Drivers on the Dulles Toll Road will see a 50 cent bump in tolls.

It's official: tolls are going up on the Dulles Toll Road. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board unanimously approved the hike, which will go into effect Jan. 1.

The full one-way charge will be $2.75, a $0.50 increase. In 2014, that figure climbs to $3.50.

Motorists will pay higher tolls so MWAA can pay the cost of the Silver Line rail project to Dulles. A decision about raising toll rates in 2015 was deferred, because the airports authority is confident it will receive more funding for the Silver Line, either from the Virginia legislature or Congress, Board Chaiorman Micahel Curto said after the vote.

MWAA has two avenues to secure additional funds: Virginia’s General Assembly, which has provided only $150 million to date, and the TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan program.

"Our project is bar none of the more worthy projects in the country for TIFIA loan financing," Curto told reporters Wednesday. "We've seen the enhanced TIFIA loan program so we're positioned well, given that the project is shovel ready. We're ready to move."

Curto is not the only public official who has expressed optimism a federal loan with come through. But MWAA has a lot of competition for TIFIA dollars; 19 major transportation projects costing a total of $27 billion are currently applying for loans, and Congress has authorized $1.75 billion for TIFIA during the next two fiscal years. 

"The pool is very small compared to what the needs are just for our rail system," said Terry Maynard, a board member of the Reston Citizens Association, which represents 58,000 residents in a Fairfax County tax district. "It's going to be very hard to get a significant contribution.”

The association opposes not the Silver Line’s construction but its financing plan, which funds 50 percent of the project using Dulles Toll Road revenues.

"We really want this to get built and succeed," Maynard said. "We are pressing that all the money [MWAA] receives relieve the burden on toll road users." Fairfax County residents are concerned that drivers looking to avoid higher tolls will opt for already congested secondary roads, further clogging their communities with traffic.

Curto promised that MWAA will lobby Richmond for additional funding, declining to criticize the administration of Governor Bob McDonnell, which has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for highway expansions.

"We are going to reach out, work closely and hope to encourage the governor’s administration and the folks in Richmond that Dulles Rail should be the recipient of additional funds. As secretary LaHood said, it is a model project," Curto said.

NPR

Not My Job: Sharon Jones Gets Quizzed On Handshakes

We've invited the lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings to play a game called "Let's shake on it."
NPR

Salvage Supperclub: A High-End Dinner In A Dumpster To Fight Food Waste

The ingredients — think wilted basil, bruised plums, garbanzo bean water — sound less than appetizing. Whipped together, they're a tasty meal that show how home cooks can use often-tossed foods.
NPR

Barbershop: Speechwriters Speak On The RNC And DNC

Republican speechwriter Mary Kate Cary, Democratic speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum and historian from the University of Virginia Barbara Perry dissect the last two weeks of speeches at the RNC and DNC.
NPR

From 'The Water's Edge To The Cutting Edge': Fish Skeletons, CT Scans And Engineering

Professor Adam Summers is a "fish guy." He uses fish to get engineering ideas. His latest project is to CT scan every type of fish — all 33,000 of them.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.