Eyes On Virginia For Additional Silver Line Funding | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Eyes On Virginia For Additional Silver Line Funding

Play associated audio

When the Virginia state legislature convenes in January, supporters of the Silver Line rail project will be looking to lawmakers in Richmond to help fund the $6 billion endeavor.

The Republican-majority in the House of Delegates and the administration of Gov. Bob McDonnell have been criticized for approving only $150 million for the second phase of the Silver Line's construction.

While the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is cautiously optimistic a federal loan will come through by the end of this year, it may not be enough to significantly reduce projected toll rate increases on the Dulles Toll Road, which are currently set to finance 75 percent of Phase 2's nearly $3 billion cost. So eyes are focusing on Virginia's legislature.

Republican House Del. Barbara Comstock, who represents Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, says more Silver Line funding will be on the table, but made no promises.

"There are those of us who are open to adding more, and that is in the mix," she says. "We are all looking at that because obviously we all want to get the tolls down."

Comstock says the fight over finances in Washington is affecting finances in Richmond.

"Virginia is under this whole cloud of what is Washington going to do with these fiscal cliff issues," she says. "We are going to have a huge exit of money and capital from northern Virginia because you are going to have huge tax increases one way or the other."

The delegate says lawmakers have also been concerned with stories of mismanagement at the agency running the Silver Line project. She says the legislature wants to be confident any additional funding will be spent wisely.

Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood has made clear the airports authority has to clean up its act.

"They know that things need to change," says LaHood, as he testified before Congress earlier this month. "And they also know that if they are going to get Phase 2 funded, if they are going to get a TIFIA loan from DOT, things have to be done correctly."

TIFIA is a program that provides funding for major transportation projects through the Department of Transportation.

In the meantime, the first toll increases on the Dulles Toll Road take effect Jan. 1.

NPR

A Historic Backdrop Frames Forbidden Love In 'The Paying Guests'

Sarah Waters' latest novel, set in 1920s London, examines the moral consequences of passion. Though slightly too long, this book brings the past to life with exquisite clarity.
NPR

Before You Take A Bite Of That Mushroom, Consider This

Guess what scientists found lurking inside a common-looking packet of supermarket porcini? Three entirely new species of fungi. That's what happens when you DNA sequence your dinner.
NPR

Move To Curb U.S. Corporate Tax Dodges Could Delay Reform

Business and consumer groups say Congress needs to reform taxes, but few expect change soon. In fact, Treasury's tweaks to tax law may diminish the political will to address broader tax reform.
WAMU 88.5

Montgomery County's Drones Are Ready, But Policy Isn't

The county government has purchased four drones for use by its fire department and innovation office, but bureaucracy is keeping them grounded for now.

Leave a Comment

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