June 1, 2011
The $6 Billion Elephant in the Room
Dulles Corridor Rail Cost Issue Extends BeyondOver or Under Airport
Another entity will be in the room at today's meeting of area federal, state, regional and local officials with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. It can't speak for itself, but it's very large and obvious.Concerns surrounding the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project cost abound - particularly with regards to the burden an above ground Dulles station places on Dulles Toll Road (DTR) users. However, the "cost and who pays problem" extends beyond the Airport station. Consider the following -
The 2004 Dulles Corridor Rapid Transit Project Final Environmental Impact Statement and Section 4 (f) Evaluation estimated the Phase 1 and 2 cost at $2.5 billion "by 2015 in year of expenditure," and assumed the following distribution:
- Federal Sources - 50% ($1.25 billion)
- Commonwealth of Virginia - 25% ($625 million)
- Fairfax County - 16.1% ($402.5 million)
- Loudoun County - 4.8% ($120 million)
- Airports Authority - 4.1% (102.5 million)Today, with an estimated $6.25 billion Phase 1 & 2 cost* the distribution is as follows:
- Dulles Toll Road Users - 56.2% ($3.5125 billion)
- Fairfax County -- 16.1% ($1.007 billion)
- Federal Sources - 15.6% ($975 million)
- Loudoun County - 4.8% ($300 million)
- Airports Authority - 4.1% ($256.25 million)
- Commonwealth of Virginia - 3.2% ($200 million)*(Construction of an aerial station at Dulles Airport reduces overall cost to $5.95 billion and the DTR user's burden to 55.3 %.)
In short, the federal/state taxpayer share has been reduced from 75% to less than 20% and shifted to a relatively small group of Northern Virginia businesses, commercial property owners and residents, most of whom are non-users of Dulles Rail.
An aerial Dulles Station reduces the overall cost, but doesn't correct the funding inequities.
It's Time for Federal, State and Local OfficialsThat Deemed Dulles Rail Their Top PriorityTo Address the ElephantAnd Create a More Equitable, Broadly-Based Funding Strategy
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