Board Letter About Phase 2 of Dulles Rail

Sept. 28, 2010

Dulles Metro Project logo The Board of Supervisors approved a letter at its Sept. 28 meeting to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors and the MWAA President and CEO informing them of the county's position on Phase 2 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. The board is offering to work together to achieve cost containment, sustainability and funding objectives.

Text of the letter:

I am writing to inform you of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors' position regarding a proposed modification to the alignment of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project (DCMP)through Dulles International Airport, and to provide you with the County's position of the preliminary cost of the Phase 2 extension. With regard to the alignment modification, the County understands that the Airports Authority Board of Directors requested staff to examine two possible aerial alignments to reduce the cost of Phase 2 from a projected $3.83 billion. The County has been further informed that an aerial alignment close to the north parking garage could save about $640 million and reduce the project cost to $3.19 billion. It is also my understanding that similar information about an aerial alignment close to the main terminal is not yet available.

Fairfax County's preference is to continue to advance the underground alignment and station while examining an aerial alignment and station in an effort to contain the cost of Phase 2. However, before the County can endorse an aerial alignment, we expect the alignment will satisfactorily meet all NEPA and Section 106 requirements, public hearings will be conducted on the alignment change, and additional passenger amenities such as baggage handling and shuttle bus services will be provided at any aerial rail station.

While Fairfax County believes switching to the aerial alignment may be a first step in cost containment, it is still the first step. The total cost of Phase 2 must recognize the financing capacity of the funding partners and the impact on our citizens who use the Dulles Toll Road. Fairfax County expects the Airports Authority to pursue additional cost savings for Phase 2 by initiating a comprehensive value engineering program (a requirement for all Fairfax County projects over $1 million), by requiring an independent cost estimate to verify the 100% Preliminary Engineering cost estimate for Phase 2, and to obtain competitive bids for design/build construction of the project. Fairfax County and the DCMP funding partners had to find a significant number of cost reductions on Phase 1 in Tysons Corner in order to obtain federal approval of the project, and we view the Phase 2 cost containment effort in the same vein.

We also believe that federal and state funding must be brought to Phase 2 to demonstrate continued commitments to improve transportation in the Nation's Capital. The extension of the Silver Line and Phase 2 will define the region through which it is built and must reflect the broader regional sustainability goals that include building infrastructure that transforms activity centers into "complete communities." In seeking to bring state and federal funding to Phase 2, the Airports Authority may want to consider using the following measures to describe the benefits of the project: economic development, mobility improvements, environmental benefits, cost effectiveness, operating efficiencies, and transitive supportive land use and future patterns. The County Executive and staff will work together with Airports Authority staff to achieve these cost containment, sustainability, and funding objectives.

Thank you for demonstrating the leadership to take on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project and to initiate steps to contain the cost of Phase 2.

Sharon Bulova

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