Autumn on Lake Thoreau

Autumn on Lake Thoreau

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MWAA Adopts Stormwater Regulations, Potentially Delaying Silver Line Phase 2, WAMU 88.5, September 16, 2014

Martin DiCaro, a leading reporter on Silver Line and Dulles Toll Road developments, reports that MWAA has decided to meet new state stormwater management requirements.  The change could affect both the budget and schedule for construction of Phase 2 of the Silver Line although MWAA has a considerable contingency fund to cover change orders and, since construction is in its early phases, the change may not affect the budget.  Still, the new requirements add to the cost of construction.

If the cost of the change exceeds the funding already set aside for contingencies, Dulles Toll Road users will be forced to absorb half the increased costs while the other half is absorbed by Fairfax, Loudoun, and MWAA under current funding arrangements.  Ironically, MWAA made the decision unilaterally, yet it has the smallest financial stake in any added costs (5.6%) so it's basically sticking toll road users and county taxpayers with nearly all the added costs. And, as you can read below, there was no requirement for MWAA to make this decision; it was voluntary.  Just spending other peoples' money!

Here are some excerpts from DiCaro's article:
The agency overseeing the construction of the second phase of the Silver Line Metrorail to Dulles Airport has decided to make a major change to the rail extension’s design to comply with new state environmental regulations, potentially adding cost and time to the project’s completion.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which ran the construction of the first phase of the Silver Line from D.C. to Reston, said new stormwater runoff regulations designed to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed spurred the decision.
It is unclear how the work will affect the final cost and timetable of the $3 billion project that is supposed to reach the airport and extend into Loudoun County in 2018. . .
The Silver Line is being financed with a combination of federal and local tax dollars and toll revenues from the Dulles Toll Road, the latter covering about half of the entire project’s estimated $5.6 billion cost.
The design change to control and treat the flow of stormwater runoff in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties could increase the burden on the public to pay for the second phase of the rail line.
MWAA, not its contractor, is ordering the change, so the agency will have to dip into its sizeable contingency fund to begin to pay for it. The contractor team led by Clark Construction is not on the hook for the increased costs. A spokeswoman for Clark Construction declined to comment on this story, referring all questions to the airports authority.
MWAA was not required to meet the new regulations adopted by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality that took effect July 1. The Silver Line design was grandfathered into the old regulations, but because everything that will be built around the future rail tracks and stations in Fairfax and Loudoun will have to comply, MWAA decided to meet the new standards, too. . . .
Click here for the full article and broadcast.

Saturday, September 13, 2014