Dulles rail project in jeopardy

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by Jessica Sabbath

Federal transportation officials have told Virginia officials they would not help fund the extension of Metrorail to Dulles International Airport without major changes to the project.

The Washington Post reported that the concerns were outlined during a meeting state officials held with U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and Federal Transit Administration chief James S. Simpson on Thursday. The federal government will not fund $900 million of the $5 billion project without changes, Simpson said in a letter.

Federal funding is vital to the project.

Simpson’s letter questioned the ballooning cost of the project, the ability of the airports authority to oversee such a large project and adding the extension to Metro, which is need of major repairs.

The Post reported that Virginia officials felt blindsided by the federal government’s demands.

Business officials in the Washington region believe it is vital to provide a rail link from Washington, D.C. to Dulles airport. In addition, the extension would travel through busy Tysons Corner, relieving traffic and making the area more pedestrian friendly.

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