Brian Fauls, Government Affairs Manager
Falling firmly under the category of good news, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation has approved Loudoun County’s application for a low-interest loan of up to $195.1 million through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program. This money will help finance Loudoun County’s share of Metro Rail’s Silver Line extension. And, even better news, Loudoun’s funding partners in the project, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and Fairfax County, have also been approved for TIFIA assistance.
After months of bad news about the Silver Line – delays and cost overruns – things are finally moving in the right direction. Just a week or so ago MWAA affirmed that the Phase 1 construction is substantially complete and the line can be turned over to the Metrorail system for testing. Metrorail won’t say when the line will open for passenger service but the word July has been whispered a lot.
And with the approval of the TIFIA loans we’ve now taken an enormous step towards getting Phase II off the drawing board and into construction. Which means we’re that much closer to fully completing this project – with the least cost to Loudoun taxpayers – so Loudoun County can begin to realize the huge economic benefits of Metrorail.
In addition, the funding to MWAA will allow the Airport’s Authority to hold tolls on the Dulles Toll Road steady at $3.50 until at least 2018 – which is an enormous relief to my pocket book and the pocket books of thousands of Loudoun commuters (now if we could only figure out what to do about the Greenway).