- The Washington Times - Friday, November 11, 2011

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Friday announced a deal between federal, state and local stakeholders that would cut costs and iron out funding mechanisms for Phase 2 of Metro’s expansion to Washington Dulles International Airport.

“This is a huge win for the Washington Metropolitan region,” said Mr. LaHood, who has been mediating negotiations for months between representatives from Metro, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), Virginia, and Fairfax and Loudoun counties. “This project will create thousands of good paying jobs, bolster the economy, and relieve traffic congestion in Northern Virginia.”

It comes with assurance that the federal government will provide Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans for Fairfax, Loudoun and the airports authority to help defray the costs of the project each entity has agreed to take on.

The memorandum of agreement also says that Virginia will contribute an additional $150 million toward the project — money that will be requested during the 2012 General Assembly session.

The 11.5-mile portion of the 23-mile project, which will ultimately extend Metro from East Falls Church through the airport into Loudoun County, has gone through a multitude of fits and starts. Earlier this year, stakeholders had battled the airports authority over whether to build the station at the airport above ground, or opt for a more costly underground option. MWAA ultimately agreed to an above ground station, shaving approximately $400 million off the cost of Phase 2, now projected at nearly $3 billion.

The agreement is still contingent on approval from local stakeholders.

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