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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 12:39 PM ET, 07/26/2011

McDonnell: State will consider donating to Dulles rail if changes are made

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said he would consider having the state donate money to the rail extension to Dulles International Airport if the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority undergoes structural changes.

McDonnell called last week’s vote by the airports authority to support an aboveground station a “victory for the taxpayers” and said he was grateful to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) for pushing the cheaper alternative.

“We still have a ways to go because we have not resolved some important structural governance issues dealing with MWAA to make sure stakeholders like Loudoun, Fairfax and Virginia are paying the money have a stake at the table,’’ McDonnell said on his monthly radio interview on WTOP.

McDonnell, who complained that Virginia gets only five of 13 votes on the board, said the three jurisdictions have been ignored in the past on important decisions.

“It’s funded by Virginia taxpayers and Virginia municipalities, along with the federal government, but yet Maryland and the District have a significant number of votes,’’ he said.

The airports authority has pleaded with Virginia to contribute money to the project, in part to reduce future increases in toll rates for Dulles Toll Road users.

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) also had asked U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to urge McDonnell to provide state funding.

Some say that Virginia officials have informally suggested that the state would be willing to contribute an additional $150 million, but so far, McDonnell has resisted..

McDonnell said Tuesday that he would consider the contribution but that some requests have to be met.

“To get this deal done and for Virginia to put some money on the table to keep the tolls down for our citizens, we have to make sure that we’re got to make we have a decent seat at the table,’’ he said.

By  |  12:39 PM ET, 07/26/2011

 
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