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Discussion Title Dulles Rail Phase 2 Project and Silver Line Station Naming Process

Join Mark Canale, Dulles Rail Project Manager, and Nick Perfili, Dulles Rail Project Planner, with the county’s Department of Transportation on Friday, March 9, 11 a.m. for a discussion on Dulles Rail, Phase 2 project financing, cost, physical layout and the process for selecting Silver Line station names.


Mark Canale : Welcome and thank you for joining us for today’s Ask Fairfax! chat on Dulles Rail Phase 2 and Silver Line station names.  My name is Mark Canale and I am Fairfax County’s Dulles Rail Coordinator.  With me is Nick Perfili, the County’s Dulles Rail Transportation Planner.


Anonymous User : What kind of mass transit options are being considered for connection to the silver line at Dulles Airport and the Route 28 corridor. Has anyone ventured to consider mass transit connections to Manassas Airport, VRE and the Loudoun County Leesburg Airport.

Nicholas Perfili : Mass transit along the Route 28 corridor is not part of the Dulles Rail Metro Project but is addressed in in the County’s Transit Development Plan (TDP).  I recommend you review Chapter 7, (see Section 7.6) of the TDP which outlines plans for transit service in the Dulles and  Route 28 area.  The Transit Development Plan is available online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/tdp.htm.  At this time there is no planned transit connection between the Manassas and Loudoun County Leesburg airports via Silver Line and VRE stations.


Revenue : What is the March 2012 status of the financing plan for Phase II? What are the exact financial portions coming from each of these sources: (1) Dulles Toll Road Drivers (2) Phase II Commercial property tax district (3) Federal funding (4) Virginia state funding (5) Fairfax County funding (6) Loudoun County funding (7) Other MWAA funding (8) Other WMATA funding?

Mark Canale : The entire project from Falls Church to Loudoun County is being paid for using the following formula:  16.1 percent from Fairfax County, 4.8 percent from Loudoun County, 4.1 percent from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), and 75 percent from Dulles Toll Road revenue, less contributions from the Federal Transit Administration and the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Fairfax County created two special tax districts to fund the majority of our contribution.  In the Phase 1 Tax District, commercial landowners agreed to pay up to 29 cents per $100 of assessed value of their commercial and industrial properties, up to a total of $400 million.  Phase 2 District property owners agreed to pay up to 25 cents per $100, up to a total of $330 million.  The remainder of the County’s commitment will come from other sources with funds from a future Transportation Bond and/or funds from the C&I (Commercial and Industrial) tax.  MWAA will be developing a financing plan over the next several months based on the cost estimates provided to the funding partners on March 7.  In the Memorandum of Agreement signed by the funding partners in December 2011, the state has committed to provide $150 million to Phase 2.  WMATA is not a funding partner in the project but will own and operate the system.  Federal funding was provided to Phase 1 of this project but no federal funds are currently committed to Phase 2.


BG : When will final station names be selected? While I respect my elected officials, their recommendations are simply awful. Why does Tysons need to be in the name of four stations, and Reston in three? Talk about confusing! Is there any chance that the names will be changed based on the results of the current survey?

Nicholas Perfili : The timeline for the station naming process is to continue public discussion at our four public meetings (March 12, 14, 15, and 19) and conclude the online survey the evening of March 21.  From there, FCDOT staff will develop a report recommending names to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.  We plan to provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors’ at the April 10 Board meeting.  Station names endorsed by the Board will be forwarded to WMATA.  The WMATA Board is scheduled to act in May 2012 on adopting the station names based on Fairfax County’s recommendations.


Rail guy : Why are there three proposed Silver Line station names with 'Reston' in them? That is totally confusing to customers. Most citizens think of destination 'Reston' as the Reston Town Center. That particular station does not open until Phase II. If passengers get off at the Herndon/Monroe station, or the Wiehle Avenue station, looking for Reston Town Center because 'Reston' is in the station name, it will be an awful experience. The Herndon/Monroe Park & Ride station should be named Herndon, or Herndon/Oak Hill, or Herndon/Floris. But certainly it should not have 'Reston' in the name.

Nicholas Perfili : WMATA has indicated to Fairfax County staff that Silver Line station names previously recommended were confusing to riders.  Through research, WMATA found that part of the confusion was related to the repeated use of “Tysons,” “Reston,” and “Herndon” in the proposed names.  We are working with the public and project stakeholders now to recommend station names that meet WMATAs station naming policy principles, ensuring names are relevant, brief, unique, and evocative.


Tolls : What are the projected toll rates increasing to over the next ten years along the Dulles Toll Road? Why is it fair for the Dulles Toll Road drivers to pay such a high proportion for Metrorail? Do the planners realize that at certain toll thresholds, many drivers will just abandon the toll road for a non-toll route? This creates two huge problems: (1) Projected revenues will be well below projections because so many drivers refuse to pay them and will seek alternate non-toll routes. (2) Other local streets and commuting route become totally congested and jammed with traffic.

Mark Canale : Toll rates for the Dulles Toll Road are set by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).  Over the next several months MWAA will be working to refine the toll rates for 2013 and future years.  This process will include a public comment period on the proposed rates.  I have seen some initial MWAA toll projections that show toll rates of $4.50 in 2013 -2017, $6.75 in 2018, and $8.75 in 2023.  I should note these rates have not been set.  Toll rates need to be affordable and the County is aware if toll are too high trips would be diverted to alternative routes.


Airport Flyer : What is the construction begin date for Phase II Silver Line beyond Wiehle Avenue? What is the expected opening date for the Phase II Silver Line to be fully operational to Dulles AIrport?

Mark Canale : The current schedule has the award of the Phase 2 Design-Build Contract by January 2013.  Construction would begin sometime in 2013 as determined by the Design-Build Contractor’s construction schedule.  Currently we are projecting Phase 2 completion in December 2017 with passenger service beginning in early in 2018.


Tysons Corner : Can you give an indication on where the names for the 4 Tysons stations are headed? I like any of the suggested names over the 4 names previously approved. Those names were all the same. I liked the names suggested on the survey.

Nicholas Perfili : Thank you for taking the Silver Line Station Names survey.  We are accepting public comment on the station names at our four upcoming public meetings scheduled over the next several days.  In addition, the survey is open until 5:00 p.m. on March 21st.  After we conclude the public meetings and the survey, station name recommendations will be developed.  Station names recommended will meet WMATAs station naming policy, which, in part, calls for unique names.


Bob Bruhns : How will the construction of the Rt 28 station and parking garage be funded - and assuming some public-private deal with developers, how will developers who build them be compensated?

Mark Canale :
The Route 28 station and garage would have to be funded at a cost neutral basis for the County as our Board has directed.    We are looking at constructing the garage either through joint development project with a developer or the county could build the garages on our own and use the revenue the garages would generate to pay the capital and operating costs.  The Route 28 station the county is submitting a federal grants application to help pay for the cost of the station, if the county is not successful in fully funded the Route 28 station then the station costs would remain in the project and be shared by the funding partners per the funding agreement.  We also have opportunities through the development process to seek proffers that would help defray the cost of these facilities.


Anonymous User : Will the station at Dulles airport be part of the airport or in separate building?

Nicholas Perfili : The above-ground station at Dulles Airport will be constructed adjacent to the existing North Garage.  Access to the airport terminal will be available through an existing underground tunnel with moving walkways.  This tunnel is in use today and connects the parking garages to the main terminal.


Operating Service : How many additional rail cars are required for the Silver line Phase I? How many additional rail cars are required for the Silver line Phase II? How many additional Metrorail employees are required for the Silver line phases I and II? How often will the Silver Line Trains run? How will the new Silver Line Trains fit in to the existing Orange and Blue Lines (how will it affect today's Orange and Blue line train frequency)?

Mark Canale : WMATA is purchasing 128 rail cars for phases 1 and 2 of Dulles Rail.  Staffing levels for the two phases will be determined by WMATAs operating needs.  Silver Line trains are projected to operate approximately every 7 minutes during peak periods and similar to other existing Metrorail service during the various periods of off-peak and weekend service.  To learn how WMATA is planning to accommodate future Dulles Rail service, please view Metro’s Blue/Yellow Line Service Realignment report available at http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/board_of_directors/board_docs/031011_03ABlueYellowRealignment.pdf .


Service fees and costs : How much will a peak rush hour fare cost from the temporary Silver line terminus at Wiehle Avenue to Central D.C. (say Farragut Square)? How much will off-peak fares be? How much will the total all-in operational cost of the Phase I Silver Line be on WMATA operations? What proportion of this is paid by the riders vs. paid for by local jurisdiction subsidies? How much will the total all-in operational cost of the Phase II Silver Line be on WMATA operations? What proportion of this is paid by the riders vs. paid for by local jurisdiction subsidies? Are their guarantees that all local jurisdiction subsidies will continue to be paid?

Nicholas Perfili : Metrorail fares for the Silver Line are not known at this time and will be set by the WMATA Board of Directors.  The fare structure for the Silver Line will be consistent with fares charged on other existing Metrorail lines.  WMATA is forecasting operating expenses of $43 million with $16 million in fare revenue in Metro’s FY-2014.  The projection is that fare cost recovery will by approximately 35 percent for FY-2014.  WMATA is forecasting operating expenses of $44 million with $31 million in fare revenue in Metro’s FY-2015.  The projection for FY-2015 if that fare cost recovery will run at approximately 66 percent.  Note that there are only six months of revenue service planned for the Silver Line in Metro’s FY-2014. 


Andrea : Will phase 2 go out to Gainesville? And if so, WHEN!

Mark Canale : This is not be part of the Silver Line extension which terminate at Route 772 in Loudoun County.  That would have to be a project associated with extending METRO down the I-66 corridor.


Victor : Please do not call the new Metro stations the same names like was proposed back last summer. Those names were confusing with them all having the name Tysons or Herndon depending on the location. For Metro, I like shorter, simpler names. No one calls "Vienna" Vienna-Fairfax. No one calls "West Falls Church" West Falls Church VT-UVA. Thank you for your taking comments and doing a survey.

Nicholas Perfili : We are working to develop station names that are unique to each station/station area and brief to assist passengers with travel on the Metrorail system.  As we noted previously, WMATA has indicated to Fairfax County staff that Silver Line station names previously recommended were confusing to riders.  To fit with the station naming policy, names proposed must be unique and will not include the repeated use of the same name.


Bob Bruhns : Aren't the FTA listed prices for the Phase II parking garages ($235 million) and the Rt 28 station ($83 million) extremely high, 1.7 to two times what they should cost?

Mark Canale : We have actual cost information related to Phase 1 and the cost of these Phase 2 elements are within the range of what the costs we have seen in Phase 1.  We also reviewed WMATA and Fairfax County cost information for parking garages and we found the FTA within the cost range.


Matt : I commute from Reston on the buses to WFC. With the opening of a station at Wiehle, how will the buses from all the Reston P&Rs (Herndon/Monroe, Sunset Hills, etc.) change? Will they still run at all? If they do, will they just run to Wiehle instead of WFC? If this hasn't yet been determined, is there a target date when the bus routes will be proposed/finalized? Thanks for taking our questions!

Nicholas Perfili : Hi Matt.  Changes are planned for bus service in the Reston and Herndon areas of Fairfax County.  The service plan is outlined in Chapter 7 of the County's Transit Development Plan (TDP) [the Reston plan starts at page 64 and the Herndon concepts begin at page 75 of Chapter 7].

Please view the TDP website at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/tdp.htm .


Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce : The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is the leading business association advocating for the Silver Line to be completed to Loudoun County. We are concerned about the current bid/RFP process. Why doesn't MWAA use the same voluntary bid process regarding PLAs in Phase II that they used in Phase I?

Mark Canale : MWAA is responsible for the procurement process for Phase 1 and 2 I would recommend you address your question to them for an answer.  A voluntary PLA was used for Phase 1 and we have supported that process.


Fred : Will the rail cars have a place for luggage? If we are going to the airport this will be needed.

Nicholas Perfili : WMATAs rail cars are used throughout the system and are not dedicated to any specific Metrorail line.  Existing rail cars serving Ronald Regan Washington National Airport Station on the Blue and Yellow lines do not have luggage racks.  WMATA posted a video to YouTube where Metro G.M. Richard Sarles walks through a future 7000-series rail car.  View the YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrZIqiQxaQU&feature=youtu.be .


Anonymous User : Why are alternative funding sources like special fares for entry and exit at the airport or airport fees being considered to offset the exorbinate amount of tolls being established for the Dulles Toll Road?

Mark Canale : Fairfax County does not control fares and fees at the airport.  The funding partners are looking at all funding alternatives and will continue to seek other opportunities.  MWAA is the Authority responsible for setting fees at the airport.


Anonymous User : Are there plans for bus services to the stations in Loudoun County?

Nicholas Perfili : Fairfax County's Transit Development Plan (TDP) coveres service concepts in Fairfax County.  For information about Loudoun County bus service, please contact the Loudoun County Office of Transportation Services at http://www.loudoun.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=784 .


Nicholas Perfili :

Unfortunately, our time is up.  If you have not already done so, please take Metro’s Fairfax County Silver Line Station Names Survey.  The survey is available at www.wmata.com/silversurvey until 5:00 p.m. on March 21.  Completing the survey is the best way to provide station name feedback.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s Dulles Rail website includes information on our four upcoming Dulles Rail public meetings and the Board of Supervisors’ public hearing.  Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/dullesmetro/ to see a list of meeting dates, times, and locations.  Project information will be added to the website as it becomes available.

We are sorry if your question was not answered and encourage you to visit the  website.  Thank you for participating and for your interest in Dulles Rail.

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