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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 06:55 PM ET, 09/07/2011

Talks on Dulles rail line continue

Officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said Wednesday that they continue to work with federal transportation officials, local and state leaders to hammer out the details of a deal on how to fund the second phase of Metro’s rail line to the Dulles area.

At their board meeting, the authority said it is involved in meetings with a smaller team of representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation and Fairfax and Loudoun counties to agree on details of a memorandum of understanding.

“There are still I’s to be dotted and T’s to be crossed,” said Tom Davis, a former congressman from Virginia and a member of the airports authority board.

As part of the agreement, the counties had said they would help pay for rail stations and parking garages in their respective areas. But they are trying to figure out how. The counties and the airports authority both want more money from the federal government and the state of Virginia.

“We basically have a deal,” Davis said. “We have a handshake. Nothing’s done until it’s done.”

The Dulles rail project will run from Tysons Corner to Reston, Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County. It is being built in two phases and will include 23 miles of new track, plus 11 rail stations. The first phase is now under construction and is expected to open in late 2013.

Davis said the first phase of the project is coming in “very close to budget.”

Staff of the airports authority said there may be delays in Metro’s getting the new 7000 rail car series to run on the Dulles rail line because of the tsunami in Japan. Metro is buying the rail cars from Kawasaki. Metro officials said they are monitoring the situation and will have better knowledge as to whether the delivery of the cars will be late by the end of the year, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

The cars are expected to be delivered in late 2013.

“We’re aware of possible impacts to the supply chain ...but at this point there has been no change in the schedule,” Stessel said.

Some local activists have raised concerns that there will be significant hikes in toll increases along the Dulles Toll Road to help pay for the airport authority’s share of the project.

The group, “Say No to $17 Tolls,” said it is concerned about some reports from the airports authority that have said tolls could reach $17 a round trip in five years.

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By  |  06:55 PM ET, 09/07/2011

 
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