Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon S. Bulova (D) reiterated her cautious support Wednesday for a proposed Dulles Metrorail deal brokered by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to move the $3.5 billion project forward while holding down its costs.
But Bulova, who met with LaHood and other stakeholders Wednesday, hours after the airports authority reversed course and recommended an above-ground Metro station at Dulles Airport, also balked at an element of the proposal that would require Fairfax County to assume control over the Route 28 station. Saying that element of the proposal was “problematic,” Bulova noted that the station will serve both Loudoun and Fairfax counties. It will also connect with state-owned property occupied by the Center for Innovative Technology, thereby creating new development opportunities for the state.
“Accordingly, the Board prefers that a State or Federal grant (or funding) be put toward the cost of that station and that the station remain funded through the Project,” Bulova said in a written statement. She said that while the Board of Supervisors is generally supportive of LaHood’s proposal on the way forward, there would need to be some modifications, and funding the Route 28 station is one of them.
Bulova acknowledged that her position was based on an informal reading of the board’s sentiments following a July 12 briefing on LaHood’s behalf by FTA administrator Peter Rogoff on the status of efforts to unite the several jurisdictions on finishing the 23-mile extension, as the Board of Supervisors has not made a formal decision on the proposal. The full statement is here:
At a meeting of Dulles Rail stakeholders today at the office of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, I provided a sense of the Board as a result of the briefing and discussion from our Board meeting of July 12th.
The document provides the Board’s reaction and comments to the proposal presented by FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. While our Board did not take a vote regarding the proposal for modifications to costs and cost sharing arrangements for the Dulles Rail Project, I believe, based on our discussion, that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors can be supportive of the proposal as outlined by Mr. Rogoff on behalf of U.S. Secretary of Transportation La Hood with some modifications.
The Fairfax County Board very much appreciates the Secretary’s efforts toward mediating a resolution to the Rail to Dulles impasse. We are supportive of the Value Engineering aspects of the proposal, which reduces the overall cost of the project.
Board members were receptive to our County staff’s assessment that assuming the cost of the garages is potentially workable and could be included in the final structure of a new cost allocation arrangement, especially with the offer of TIFIA assistance.
Only Fairfax County is being asked to assume the full cost of a station (Route 28 Station) and this is problematic. The Route 28 Station will service both Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. The station pavilion on the north side provides for Loudoun and Fairfax transit connections to the station. Furthermore, this north side entrance pavilion will connect with land owned by the State (Center for Innovative Technology) and will provide the State with significant development opportunities. Accordingly, the Board prefers that a State or Federal grant (or funding) be put toward the cost of that station and that the station remain funded through the Project.
I am fully committed to finding a solution to the Route 28 station issue.
Rail to Dulles continues to be Fairfax County’s number one transportation priority and the Board remains committed to completing the Project in a timely and cost effective manner. The Board also is committed to working with our partners to address financial and project related issues.
Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors