Virginia Briefing

Dulles Rail Project Gets Stimulus Money; School Budget Approved in Pr. William

Friday, May 8, 2009


Project Gets Stimulus Money to Limit Its Debt

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $77.5 million in federal stimulus money toward the construction of a Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport.

The award doesn't change a previous overall pledge of $900 million in federal dollars toward the 23-mile Silver Line through Tysons Corner. But it accelerates the payments, saving $15 million in financing costs by limiting the amount of debt the project must take on.

More such savings are possible, said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), who along with Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last month to award the money.

Construction of Phase 1 of the $5.2 billion Silver Line is underway; it will extend Metro from Arlington County to Wiehle Avenue in Reston. Phase 2 is expected to take the project to the airport and into Loudoun County by 2016.

-- Amy Gardner


School Budget With 1.6 Percent Cut Approved

The Prince William County School Board this week approved a $786 million budget for the next fiscal year that restores funding for a number of programs that had been threatened but cuts spending about 1.6 percent from current levels in what officials have called the first year-to-year budget decrease in memory.

Under the plan approved Wednesday night for the year that starts July 1, secondary school students will continue to play sports for free. The school system had proposed charging fees. The budget also restored funding for employee retirement programs and extra aid for schools with concentrations of disadvantaged students, both of which had been trimmed in earlier proposals.

Employees will receive a 2.9 percent cost-of-living increase, which remains unchanged. But average middle- and high school class sizes will increase by a fraction under the plan as the county tries to accommodate an expected 1,400 new students next year.

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