Dulles Metro: Ray LaHood to play peacemaker

The brouhaha between legislators and the Washington Metro Airports Authority could potentially be heading to a resolution, as Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will meet with both sides, the Washington Post reported.

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After the meeting, Congressmen Gerry Connolly and Frank Wolf said they were encouraged at the discussions, noting that “everything is on the table”.

“We are encouraged that MWAA board members expressed a willingness to work with us and our local partners to address those concerns,” the congressmen said in a statement.

Their primary interest to see the project completed in time and under budget, Connolly and Wolf stated.

LaHood wasn't merely trying to find a helpful solution; the federal government has pumped close to $1 billion into the project. With Loudoun and Fairfax counties at odds with the WMAA, and the former threatening to pull out of the project, LaHood's role is integral to the future of the important rail link.

The project is eligible for a portion of the $1.1 billion in federal funds devoted to transportation projects, and LaHood is the man who signs off on all funding and loans.

Without federal funding - either direct, or in the form of low-interest loans, the project could lead to sunning increases in prices for the Dulles Toll Road. The fee is already expected to double from $2 to $4 by 2015; without financial assistance, tolls could jump to $10 for a one-way trip by 2020.

[via WaPo]

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