Board of Supervisors Approves Revised Funding Agreement for Dulles Rail Phase Two

Dec. 6, 2011

Today, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved changes to the funding agreement for the second phase of the Dulles Rail project, saving as much as an estimated $757 million in fees for Dulles Toll Road users.

 Dulles Rail Phase 2 StationsThe board’s authorization was the final step needed to adopt the changes. The project’s other partners—the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Loudoun County, Commonwealth of Virginia and U.S. Department of Transportation— agreed to the deal last month.

“This strategy brings the cost of Phase 2 back down close to the original estimate and goes a long way to ensure this critical transportation project is completed,” Chairman Sharon Bulova said. “Dulles Rail remains my top transportation priority and I am glad to approve this strategy.”

Toll road commuters, who are paying for 75 percent of the project’s second phase, will see savings because the deal shaves the total cost by a third—from an estimated $3.8 to $2.8 billion. The most significant source for these savings results from the decision to build an above-ground station at Dulles Airport.

As part of the deal, Fairfax County agreed to help offset costs to toll road drivers by trying to raise third-party funds. This money will be used to pay all or part of the cost to build the Route 28 Metro station and two parking garages. These funds could include parking fees from the Route 28 and Herndon-Monroe garages or contributions from developers. 

Of any outside money raised to build the station and garages, 75 percent will be used to cut costs for toll road users. This change will have a positive impact on rates paid by drivers on the toll road.

Even if new revenue sources can’t be found, Fairfax will pay no more than 16.1 percent of the cost for these facilities, as was previously agreed. Current estimates price the station and two garages at almost $188 million.

As was agreed, total project costs are shared as follows: 16.1 percent by Fairfax County; 4.8 percent by Loudoun County; 4.1 percent by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority; and 75 percent (less any federal and state funding) by Dulles Toll Road revenues.

To help pay for its overall share for the project, the county also plans to apply for a federal loan of up to $315 million under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. With its potentially low interest rate and option to defer repayment, this loan will save taxpayers money.

As another provision of the deal, the county agreed to make a portion of its federal loan available to help reduce costs to toll road drivers if outside money doesn’t cover the cost for building the station and two garages.

To further defray costs for toll road users, the state also agreed to seek $150 million in funding from the Virginia General Assembly.

The county’s share for the entire Dulles Rail project is estimated to be $893 to $923 million. Of this amount, $730 million—or approximately 80 percent—will be paid for by voluntary, special tax districts created by landowners.

In the Phase 1 Tax District, landowners agreed to pay up to 29 cents per $100 of the assessed value of 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 second phase of the rail project runs from Wiehle Avenue in Fairfax County to Route 772 in Loudoun County. The second phase of the project is estimated to be completed in 2017.The first phase of the project is currently under construction, and it expected to be completed in late 2013.

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