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News Bits and Pieces -
February 18, 2005
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has approved a 25-cent toll increase on the Dulles Toll Road, effective May 22, 2005. Revenues from the toll increase will help fund Virginia’s share of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, slated for construction as early as 2006.
Tolls will increase from 50 cents to 75 cents at the main toll plaza and from 25 cents to 50 cents at entrance and exit ramps. The 35-cent toll at the Sully Road/Greenway ramps will also increase to 50 cents. The toll increase applies equally to all users: automobile and commercial vehicles paying by cash, Smart Tag or E-ZPass.
This is the first toll increase on the 12-mile toll road since it opened in 1984, and revenues from the increase will be dedicated to the Metrorail project. It represents a major step toward the start of Metrorail service in the Dulles corridor.
“The region clearly needs this project,” said Whittington Clement, Commonwealth Transportation Secretary and Chairman of the CTB. “Major roadways in the corridor are nearing gridlock. The problem won’t go away and we must address it.”
Funding for the project is projected to be 50 percent federal, 25 percent state and 25 percent local. The Commonwealth’s share is funded by the toll increase and funds allocated through the Virginia Transportation Act of 2000.
The quarter toll increase will complete Virginia’s share to fund Phase 1, which will extend Metrorail for 11 miles from near East Falls Church station through Tysons Corner to Wiehle Avenue in Reston. The toll increase will also help to fund part of Phase 2, which will further extend the line for 12 more miles from Wiehle Avenue through Dulles International Airport to Route 772 in Loudoun County. The total estimated project cost is $3.5 billion.
Clement said extending Metrorail has been studied, analyzed and evaluated for more than 20 years. The project has been discussed in public meetings and hearings over the last eight years.
“The comment opportunities the CTB solicited in the last few weeks are the latest in a long history of public meetings on the project,” said Clement. “All of the comments we received, including those during the environmental review process, were considered by the CTB before taking action on this critical issue. The board’s decision was based on public participation, the facts and findings of more than 250 public meetings and in-depth environmental review and study.”
For more information on the toll increase, visit www.virginiaDOT.org. For more information on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, visit www.dullesmetro.com.
Additional Information on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project:
The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project will provide Metrorail access to the region’s major activity centers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia including, among others, FedEx Field, the National Zoo, the U.S. Capitol, Tysons Corner and Washington Dulles International Airport.
Phase 1 will extend out of the Orange line for 11 miles from near East Falls Church station through Tysons Corner to Wiehle Avenue in Reston and is estimated to cost $1.5 billion. Phase 2 will further extend the line for 12 more miles from Wiehle Avenue through Dulles International Airport to Route 772 in Loudoun County and is estimated to cost $2 billion. The total estimated project cost is $3.5 billion.
Preliminary engineering for Phase 1 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project is under way and expected to be completed by the end of 2005, when more detailed schedule and cost information will be available. Additional engineering for Phase 2 is scheduled for completion in spring 2006. Subject to funding and federal approvals, construction could begin as early as 2006, with estimated completion of Phase 1 in 2011 and Phase 2 in 2015.
The project will advance as a partnership led by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Fairfax County, Town of Herndon, Loudoun County, Virginia Department of Transportation and Dulles Transit Partners, LLC.
Additional Information on the Dulles Toll Road:
The Dulles Toll Road carries more than 200,000 vehicles a day. In fiscal year 2004, toll revenues generated $41 million, of which $12.2 million went to bond payments, $15 million to operating expenses and $750,000 to maintenance reserves. Up to 85 percent of the remaining $11.1 million was allocated to transit improvements and 15 percent was allocated to the Dulles Toll Road Improvement Fund.
The Virginia Engineer © IIr Associates 2005