This post has been updated.
The $5.6 billion Silver Line rail project appears to be in line to receive nearly $1.9 billion in federal loans to help fund the second phase of construction that will extend the rail line to Washington Dulles International Airport, members of Northern Virginia’s Congressional delegation announced Friday.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and two of its partners in the rail project, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, has been asked by officials at the Department of Transportation to formally apply for the program — a sign that they are likely to receive the funding they have requested, congressional leaders said.
The loan, which must still be formally approved by officials at the Department of Transportation, will also likely ease the pressure on users of the Dulles Toll Road. Under the financing plan, more than half the cost of the $5.6 billion rail project is being paid for with toll road revenues. But the federal loan, combined with $300 million in funding from the state of Virginia, would mean a toll increase could be put off until 2018.
“A lot of us have worked hard for many years to keep this vitally important project on track,” Sen. Mark Warner said. “Rail to Dulles is one of the nation’s most significant infrastructure projects, and this project is key to the future economic growth and expanded economic opportunity for Northern Virginia. Today’s development represents a significant step forward, and I am pleased that this federal support will allow us to continue moving forward with the project and buy-down tolls for commuters.”
Added. Rep. Gerry Connolly: “Today’s announcement is a huge victory for Northern Virginia and commuters in the Dulles Corridor. It’s shaping up to be an exciting spring for Tysons, Reston, and the entire Dulles Corridor.”
The money would be provided through the Department of Transportation’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, which provides direct loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit to help finance regional and national transportation projects.