Last week, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) released new cost estimates for Phase II of Rail to Dulles. These new estimates are $1 billion lower than previous estimates and are consistent with what we have been working with during the past year.
Fairfax County and other stakeholders came together over the past year to address rising cost estimates for Phase II. Working with our staff and project partners, Loudoun County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the U.S. Department of Transportation, we were able to bring the cost of Phase II down by $700 million.
The savings were achieved in part by moving to an above ground station at the airport, a smaller rail yard, and purchasing fewer rail cars. I believe these important improvements in the funding strategy for Phase II will protect both the taxpayers of Fairfax County and users of the Dulles Toll Road.
We will continue to identify ways to address the affordability of rates on the Dulles Toll Road. The Governor has pledged $150 million toward Phase II that specifically addresses the issue of affordability of the Dulles Toll Road. In addition, federal TIFIA financing will further address affordability of the project, something U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood encouraged us to apply for in our Memorandum of Agreement signed by all partners last year.
I welcome constructive discussions about the future of Phase II and look forward to hearing from the community on this vital project. Fairfax County staff will host a series of community meetings this month to discuss the future of Rail to Dulles. Those meetings will be held on Wednesday, March 14 at Hutchison Elementary School; Thursday, March 15 at Westgate Elementary School; and Monday, March 19 at the Fairfax County Government Center (the first meeting was held on March 12 at the South County Government Center).
All meetings start at 6:30 p.m. except for March 19 at 7 p.m. The Board of Supervisors will then hold a public hearing at our meeting on Tuesday, March 20 at 5pm in the Government Center. For more details, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/dullesmetro/.
I encourage all interested residents of Fairfax County to attend these meetings; it is critical that the community be engaged on such an important project. Rail to Dulles remains our highest transportation priority and we will continue to make sure the project can be completed in a way that is affordable to our residents, commuters and corporate neighbors.
Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors