Loudoun County Budget Cutting Causes Dulles Metro Concerns

County considering not funding two stations

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012  |  Updated 8:34 PM EDT
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Loudoun County is looking to trim its budget, and the Dulles Metro Project may be affected.

Chris Gordn

Loudoun County is looking to trim its budget, and the Dulles Metro Project may be affected.

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Officials in Fairfax County are concerned about money being a roadblock for the Dulles Metro Project as newly elected lawmakers in Loudoun County are in budget-cutting mode.

Phase one of the project -- to Reston -- is under construction, but phase two of the Silver Line, which would extend beyond Dulles International Airport to serve two Metro stations in Loudoun County, may now be in jeopardy.

Seven of the nine members of the Loudoun County Board are new and want to review financial commitments made by the previous board as they consider budget cuts. The board will take about a month to decide whether to cut the two Loudoun stations out of the proposed 23-mile Silver Line, according to County Board Chairman Scott York.

“Going through the election cycle most of the members that are currently sitting had expressed their support, not all of them, but most of them expressed support for a rail,” he said. “But all of us are very concerned about the potential cost to Loudoun County, to the users of the [Dulles] Toll Road as they are going to be burdened with 75 percent of that cost as well as the future operational cost from WMATA.”

If the Silver Line stops short of Loudoun County, commuters would have to drive or take buses into Fairfax County to use Metro, adding to traffic and parking problems.

Some Fairfax County Board members are concerned that since the Silver Line is being substantially paid for by motorists using the Dulles Toll Road, increased tolls could cause problems.

“I think the Silver Line brings great economic development benefits to Fairfax County,” Supervisor Pat Herrity said. “What we need to look at are, What are the impacts? What are the negative economic impacts of high tolls in that corridor? What are the operating costs going to be? What’s the capital liability whether Loudoun ops in or ops out?”

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