Lawsuit Claims Dulles Toll Road Drivers Shouldn't Have to Fund Silver Line - NBC4 Washington

Lawsuit Claims Dulles Toll Road Drivers Shouldn't Have to Fund Silver Line



    Drivers File Lawsuit Claiming Tolls Being Collected Illegally

    A group of drivers is suing the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority over tolls collected on the Dulles Toll Road. Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss explains. (Published Wednesday, July 20, 2016)

    Drivers headed to Dulles International Airport on the Dulles Toll Road pay to ride -- $2.50 at the main toll plaza and $1 at the off-ramps. And some of that money has helped fund what will be a new way to get to Dulles: Metro's Silver Line.

    But a new lawsuit claims it's not fair to charge drivers for rail transportation.

    "Money is being taken from folks to pay for a mode of transportation they are not using and may never use," said Robert Cynkar, the attorney who is suing the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. "And that seems unfair to folks."

    Cynkar says hundreds of millions of dollars should go back into the pockets of drivers who have used the Dulles toll road in recent years. Cynkar filed the case as a putative class action lawsuit, which indicates he plans to ask the court to grant class-action status.

    The airports authority declined comment on this case, saying it is is an ongoing legal matter.

    Opinions of drivers interviewed Wednesday were mixed. "I'm not a Metro person," one said. "I don't like taking the Metro."

    "If it can reduce the traffic that would be a good thing - especially for the residents in this area," said another.

    This is not the first time that the authority has faced a lawsuit like this, and all previous suits have not been successful.

    But Cynkar's effort has a new wrinkle: He's also taking aim at the airports authority itself, which he says faces no real oversight.

    Members are not elected; they are appointed by the U.S. president, the governors of Maryland and Virginia, and the mayor of D.C.

    "If they are going to take money from you, you get to vote the bums out if you don't like what they are doing. And MWAA or this authority is structured to be independent from all other forms of government. They have no check on them," Cynkar said. "No one can vote them out. They are like little emperors within their facility."