RICHMOND, JAN. 25 -- Gov. Gerald L. Baliles' administration has proposed legislation to finance the widening of Rte. 28 near Dulles International Airport to six lanes by using state revenue bonds.
Eighty percent of the bonds would be paid off with special taxes on commercial landowners along the Rte. 28 corridor in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, authorized by a special tax district law enacted by the General Assembly last year. The other 20 percent would be taken out of Northern Virginia's allocation of state highway funds.
The legislation to authorize the issuance and sale of the bonds and to use special tax district money is to be introduced by Sens. Clive L. DuVal 2d (D-McLean) and Charles L. Waddell (D-Loudoun), both of whom predicted the bills will pass easily.
"I am optimistic that these revenue bonds can be issued and sold this summer and that the urgently needed construction work to widen Rte. 28 can begin this fall," DuVal said today.
The plan to widen Rte. 28 between Rte. 7 and I-66, a jammed two-lane highway in an area scheduled for intense office development, is estimated to cost $123.2 million, not including debt service. The financing proposal would require the use of $51.9 million in Northern Virginia's highway funds through fiscal 1999, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
An earlier version of the Rte. 28 project envisioned widening the two lane road to an eight-lane divided highway with 10 interchanges. The cost of that proposal, estimated at $392 million, was prohibitive, DuVal said. The current plan would widen the 14-mile stretch of road to a six-lane divided highway with three improved interchanges, at Rte. 7, Rte. 50 and the Dulles Access Road.
Local officials became concerned about the future of the road project last month when the Virginia Supreme Court prohibited the use of "pledge bonds," by which the state would pledge gasoline taxes and other highway revenues to pay off the principal and interest. The General Assembly approved the use of pledge bonds for transportation projects in September 1986, but the court ruled they were unconstitutional.
Vivian Watts, Virginia secretary of transportation and public safety, told the Northern Virginia delegation tonight that the legal aspects of the newly proposed financing mechanism had been carefully reviewed over the last six weeks and that the administration is confident it will pass all legal tests.
DuVal said the revenue bonds are the same type of mechanism used to finance construction of the Dulles Toll Road.