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Dulles Metro expansion: Governor Bob McDonnell joins debate

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Virginia's Governor Bob McDonnell is joining the debate over the multi-million decision for Metro’s expansion to Dulles.

Airport officials want an underground station, but local leaders want a less-expensive surface station.

Now, Governor Bob McDonnell says the state will not fund any additional costs created by the underground alternative.

In a letter to Charles Snelling, Chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Gov. McDonnell wrote, “I write to urge the Washington Metropolitain Authority (MWAA) to promptly reconsider its recent vote to pursue a tunnel alignment through the Dulles International Airport for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.”

Building an underground Metro stop in Dulles would cost $300,000,000 more than an above-ground station.

McDonnell doesn’t believe it’s fair to taxpayers in Northern Virginia who presumably would bear the burden of the significant cost difference.

McDonnell said, “I, along with the project’s local government funding partners in Herndon and Loudoun and Fairfax Counties, are very surprised and disappointment in the MWAA Board’s very costly decision and hope that upon further reflection, the Board would come to the most fiscally sound decision to pursue aerial alignment.”

But the Airports Authority released the following statement Tuesday morning:

“Mr. Snelling has not yet received the letter from Governor McDonnell but he welcomes the opportunity to speak with the Governor to discuss his concerns.”

The 23-mile Metro extension to Dulles is being paid for partially with state and local money, but also with revenue from the Dulles toll road.

Virginia leaders have already said that tolls would likely increase with the underground option.

Leaders in Loudoun and Fairfax counties have already expressed their frustration with the airport authority’s decision.

Last week, the chairman on the authorities board said he would be willing to sit down and meeting with Virginia leaders about his Board’s decision. That meeting has not taken place yet.

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