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Airports authority to reconsider vote for underground Dulles Metro
Virginia has five members on the board, the D.C. mayor appoints three, the Maryland governor appoints two, and the federal government appoints three.
Once left for dead, the first leg of the project eventually won $900 million from the federal government to run from East Falls Church to Reston after the federal government deemed it not fit for funding in 2008.
The fate of the second leg, which will connect Wiehle Avenue to the airport and finish in Ashburn, also could hinge on federal assistance. Under a memorandum of agreement from Federal Transit Administration Administrator Peter M. Rogoff, federal loans would be available for Fairfax and Loudoun counties to help defray some of the costs of the project.
The state of Virginia would contribute an additional $150 million under the proposed memorandum of understanding.
Despite the intentions of the transfer, the rail project could become a campaign issue ahead of the 2012 elections.
In 2006, during the administration of Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat now seeking his party’s nomination to the U.S. Senate, the state approved the transfer of the project to the airports authority board. The decision was supported by a bipartisan group of congressmen, including Mr. Wolf and former Sen. George Allen, Mr. Kaine’s likely Republican opponent in the Senate race. The argument at the time was that the transfer would make the project more cost-effective and better managed.
“It’s very simple,” said Kenneth Klinge, a former chairman of the Dulles Corridor Task Force who works with the MWAA. “They figured out if they stayed in charge, they were the ones who were going to have to increase the tolls.”
Instead, the authority is now in the second step of a three-pronged process to increase the cost of driving on the Dulles Toll Road; two-axle vehicles began paying $1.25 on Jan. 1 at its main toll plaza, a 25-cent increase. And officials project that with or without federal assistance, tolls will balloon exponentially over the next 30 years to cover the costs of the project.
A federal judge recently dismissed a lawsuit brought by two Virginia residents arguing that MWAA’s toll rate increases amount to taxation without representation.
Regardless, a Wednesday showdown awaits.
“Tomorrow’s a big day,” Mr. Klinge said.
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By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
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