Gov. Bob McDonnell joined a growing chorus of voices Monday in asking the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s (MWAA) board of directors to reconsider its decision to put a future Metro stop at Dulles International Airport underground. The governor said the change in design from an above ground station is expected to increase the project’s cost by $250 to $300 million and could jeopardize an original $1.5 billion estimate for completion of the next phase of work.
“The tunnel alignment has, by all accounts, been shown to be the much more expensive alignment through the airport, costing hundreds of millions more than the aerial alignment with relatively minimal positive logistical or aesthetic benefit,” McDonnell wrote in a letter to the board.
His concerns echo those sent in a joint letter earlier this month from Fairfax and Loudoun counties and Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton. The officials threatened to withhold their portion of funding for the project unless MWAA’s board reconsidered. “To state our position very clearly, we cannot and will not fund the additional cost of the tunnel alternative in Dulles Airport when a less expensive alternative can be constructed with less risk and in a shorter period of time,” the letter said.
In March 2008, the state transferred operations and maintenance responsibilities of the Dulles Toad Road from the Department of Transportation to MWAA to help finance the cost of the project.
The first phase of the Dulles Metrorail extension will bring Metro to Tysons Corner. A second phase will bring Metrorail to Dulles International Airport.