Silver Line Presentation Comments, March 12

Last update: March 16, 1 p.m.

Dulles Rail, Phase 2 and Silver Line station name comments, questions, and answers from the public meeting presentation.

Agency Acronyms
FCDOT – Fairfax County Department of Transportation
FTA – Federal Transit Administration
MWAA – Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
USDOT – United States Department of Transportation
VDOT – Virginia Department of Transportation
WMATA – Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Alexandria Meeting
South County Government Center
March 12, 2012

# City Comment
1 Alexandria

As a resident of Mount Vernon District, I am not personally affected by the tolls charged on the Dulles Toll Road. But the projected increase in the tolls appear prohibitive to me. You can expect massive public protests upon implementation and resistance to using the Toll Road if no remedial action is taken. You need Plan B!

2 Alexandria

Since some commuters need to change to the Silver Line at the East Falls Church Station, the names of an East Falls Church and a West Falls Church Station is unfortunate and potentially confusing. Some mitigation should be considered.

3 Alexandria

Regardless of names selected, you should keep the Route 772 and Route 28 designations next to the names.

Note: Some questions and answers were summarized for better understanding of the discussion.

Q – Toll increase – where does the money go to ensure it is earmarked for this project?
A – MWAA sets rates and collects, then the money is used to operate and maintain the system, and for the project.  Gross revenues will be used for the project and for operations and maintenance (O&M).  There will be an agreement between MWAA and the developers to escrow the moneys – a portion will be used for O&M, but MWAA won’t have any say over how most is spent – the agreement will govern.

Q – It seems to me, looking at it from the outside, the cost of the tolls will get cost prohibitive.  You are going to get a lot of rejection from the commuters.  You are going to need a backup plan. The commuters are going to go hog-wild.
A –MWAA has not set the toll rates for 2013 at this time.  It is anticipated that the rates will be set by September of this year for 2013, we do not know the length of years the rates will be set for by the MWAA  board.  We hope that the rail provides an alternative to using the toll road.

Q – Route 28 station: will it still be built if Fairfax can’t fund it?
A – Yes.

Q – With the Route 28 parking garage—is that the sticking point, with who/how it’s being funded?  I understand it is Fairfax County now.
A – The Route 28 garage is not the sticking point since garages generate revenue and the fees collected for parking can pay for the capital and maintenance and operations costs.  The County is looking at ways to fund the garage outside of the project.  The Route 28 Station is more problemantic for Fairfax since we do not own the land and have limited leverage to work a deal to construct this station.  The fallback if the station cannot be built by the County, it remains in the project and the costs shared per the funding agreement.

Q – Stations have windows – open on the roof.  Is there an option to have the stations covered in the winter – with plastic?
A – The windows are skylights on the top.  Windows on the side will be open, but a significant wall will be inside of it.

Q – When you take rail from Tysons west, how long is the trip?
A – From Dulles Airport to Metro Center is estimated at 50 minutes.  Silver Line goes in all the way to Stadium-Armory Station.

Q – Station names – unfortunate names are East Falls Church and West Falls Church – that will be confusing to the public – consider emphasizing that the East Falls Church station is where you transfer to the Silver Line.
A- We anticipate the new the names being proposed make it easier for commuters identify with the stations.

Q – Washington Flyer initiates from West Falls Church to Dulles – could be confusing (see question above).
A – With Phase 1, Washington Flyer will operate to and from Wiehle Avenue.

Q – What are the estimates on how much traffic (ridership)?  Trains only every half hour?
A – At rush hour, trains will run about every 7 minutes.

Q – Telecommuting may impact projected numbers.
A – Planning requirements are strict; the project can’t make assumptions about the numbers.  Airport employees numbering in the thousands may also use the train for reverse commute.  Most airports have 60-70% of riders being the people who work at the airport.

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