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Loudoun County Looking For Ways To Offset Costs Of Silver Line Construction

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The first phase of the Silver Line is expected to start operating in December 2013, and will get out to Reston.
WAMU/Jared Angle
The first phase of the Silver Line is expected to start operating in December 2013, and will get out to Reston.

Although construction of Phase I of the Silver Line Metro rail to Reston, Va. is coming to a close, the task of paying for the massive project is far from over—and officials are looking for ways to relieve the burden on taxpayers.

Loudoun County is on the hook for $168 million—four percent of the Silver Line's total cost—to build parking garages for the planned Silver Line Metro stops. Scott York, the chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, says that he is trying to get taxpayers out of paying the expense by seeking a public-private partnership to build the garages—with the tab is paid by the commuters who use them.

"It is our hope at the end of the day that those garages will be done by the private sector in cooperation with the public sector," he says.

York is also hoping for a federal loan. The agency in charge of the Silver Line's construction, along with Fairfax and Loudoun counties, are asking the feds for nearly $2 billion, a process that has dragged on for months.

"We were obviously hopeful that we would have a decision right away, but we are still confident will come by fall," he says.

Federal dollars will help relieve the burden on Dulles Toll Road users, whose fees are scheduled to cover 48 percent of the Silver Line's $5.5 billion dollar price tag. Direct federal aid will cover 16 percent of the line's cost, while Virginia state funds will cover 10 percent, Fairfax County 16 percent, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority four percent.

The first phase of the Silver Line is expected to open in December 2013.


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