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Federal Loan Helps Put Freeze On Dulles Toll Road Rates

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Rates on the Dulles Toll Road are expected to stay the same through 2018 after increasing each of the last five years.

Those tolls are paying for about half the total cost of the Silver Line Metrorail project. Now, thanks to a nearly $2 billion, low-interest federal loan from a program created to help finance major transportation projects, the tolls won't have to be raised again for a while. Virginia Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly says this loan is the largest in the program's history.

"So that means we can probably freeze toll rates for five years, and put significant downward pressure on the tolls in the years thereafter," he says.

Terry Maynard is a board member of the Reston Citizens Association, a group of 60,000 residents. He's been a critic of the rail project's financing scheme. He says the loan is good news for toll road users, but tolls may have to be raised anyway — depending on who has to pay for the delays still holding up Phase I of the Silver Line to Reston, the contractor or the airports authority.

"Dulles Toll Road users will be getting their share, which at this point is about half of any costs added onto those tolls," he says.

The current full, one-way toll is $3.50. It would have jumped to $6.75 by 2018 without the loan.

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