WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Dulles Rail Funding Up For Vote In Fairfax County

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Phase 2 of the Dulles Metrorail project is on the agenda in Fairfax County today. The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote later this morning to confirm the county's participation in the $2.7 billion project, despite reservations about the cost.

All parties -- Fairfax and Loudoun counties, the state of Virginia, and Dulles airport travelers -- want to see the rail line extended out to the airport and beyond. Who pays for it, and how much, has been the contentious issue. Loudoun County approved participation in the project several months ago, but in January, some of the county's lawmakers were balking at the project's cost.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova says she expects the board to vote to continue the project while working to contain costs, especially to Dulles Toll Road users. Those tolls make up a big chunk of the funding for the so-called Silver line. 

"During the past year, we have worked to bring down the overall cost of Phase 2 by about $1 billion to make it more affordable for Fairfax County as well as Loudoun County," Bulova says. "We are also interested in making sure it is completed in a way that is affordable to taxpayers and motorists on the Dulles Toll Road."

If the state of Virginia follows through on a threat to withdraw the state's $150 million contribution, tolls could double on the Dulles Toll Road in order to keep the project on track.

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