By Dan Malouf
It seems like a no-brainer that the long-planned Dulles Airport Metro line should include a stop at Dulles Airport, but to one key decision-maker, that remains an open question.At yesterday's meeting of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), board member Robert Clarke Brown, a presidential appointee, suggested re-routing Phase 2 of the Silver Line to skip Dulles Airport.
The airport station is expensive, he says, and so MWAA should consider simply not building it. Metro riders hoping to access Dulles would instead transfer to some kind of shuttle or people-mover from the Route 28 station, the next closest.
Skipping the airport and replacing it with a people-mover would reduce the project's overall $2.8 billion price tag by approximately $70 million. That, argues Brown, is reason to take his suggestion seriously. It shouldn't be. . . .
|Photo by XYZ+T on Flickr.|
By Yonah Freemark
Yesterday, Robert Brown, a member of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), suggested rethinking his agency’s planned Metro rail extension out to Dulles Airport, the Washington region’s prime international gateway. Instead of the bringing this $2.8 billion rail link — frequently referred to as the Silver Line — directly to the airport, Brown noted that replacing the final 1.5-mile connection with a people mover would save $70 million thanks to a more limited right-of-way and the construction of one less Metro station.
The Silver Line is an extension of the Washington Metro’s Orange Line and will eventually reach Loudoun County. The first segment of the project, to Tyson’s Corner and Wiehle Avenue, is planned to open for service next year.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the idea was perceived as heresy, both by local commenters and board members. Mame Reiley, one board member, said “I just don’t think that’s what we labored for… it is not rail to Dulles.” Concerns were raised that the federal government might delay the program because the board was “starting over.” And indeed the proposal appears to have been dismissed by the authority board as unacceptable.
Counter-intuitively, however, such a change in alignment could be a reasonable money-saver and may actually improve transit service for both commuters and air travelers. And though the question is immediately relevant to the Dulles Rail extension, it is equally valid to many cities, as the issue of extending rail networks out towards airports is frequently of concern for transportation planners in major metropolitan areas. . . .
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