Va. Senate candidate Radtke calls for elimination of airports authority

Virginia Senate candidate Jamie Radtke called Thursday for the abolishment of the authority overseeing the construction of the Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport.

Radtke, a former leader of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots, said she would propose legislation in Congress to get rid of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and return control of the Dulles Toll Road and the Metro line project to Virginia.

The unelected board of the airports authority is facing criticism from Northern Virginia leaders about its management of the Metro project and its support for building an underground rail stop at Dulles. Toll road users and the Fairfax and Loudoun county governments are helping to pay for the 23-mile extension and are concerned about the cost to taxpayers and commuters.

“It is past time to bring accountability and transparency to MWAA,” said Radtke, who has been trying to run to the right of GOP rival and former senator George Allen. “It is unacceptable that MWAA acts without any oversight or accountability.”

Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) introduced legislation this spring that would make it easier to replace the authority’s board members and give Virginia more representation on the 13-member panel. At Wolf’s request, the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation is also reviewing the board’s activities and its oversight of the rail project.

During the tenure of former governor Tim Kaine in 2008, Virginia transferred operation of the Dulles Toll Road to the airports authority. The move was made in part to insulate the self-supporting authority and its regional board from political pressure.

Under Radtke’s proposal, Virginia would also have the option of operating Dulles and Reagan National Airport. The federal government transferred control of the two airports to the authority in 1987, under a 50-year lease.

Ann covers legal affairs in the District and Maryland for the Washington Post. Ann previously covered state government and politics in California, New Hampshire and Maryland. She joined the Post in 2005.

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