Virginia Attorney General Wants Rail To Dulles Project to Die
Cuccinelli says he hopes the rail to Dulles Airport project never happens.
While the three funding partners of the rail to Dulles Airport project are negotiating behind closed doors to settle their differences on the rising costs of phase 2, there's one state elected official who rather see the project killed.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is getting attention for a WMAL radio interview last week when he said the project to extend rail from Reston's Wiehle Avenue Station (the end of Phase 1) to Dulles Airport and eastern Loudoun County is an "economic boondoggle." He predicted that the rising costs of the project's second phase will be a central campaign issue in Loudoun County's local elections.
"I hope those folks [in Loudoun] elect an entire board who is committed to pulling out of phase 2 to kill it, because it is bad policy for Virginia," Cuccinelli said.
The attorney general said he hopes that phase 2 never gets built and criticized those involved for paying for the first phase that is "already two and a half times its original cost."
The MWAA board of directors in April voted to build an underground station at Dulles Airport, a decision that added $330 million to the cost of phase 2 that is now estimated to be $1 billion above the original $2.5 billion estimate.
Fairfax and Loudoun counties are sharing the cost of the rail project with MWAA, and leaders in those two jurisdictions are strongly against the underground station.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova and Loudoun County Chairman Scott York have asked MWAA to reverse its decision and build an above-ground station. York's county board has threatened to stop funding the project because of MWAA's decision.
The three funding partners met behind closed doors on Friday to negotiate at the request of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. LaHood met with the project's stakeholders last week and gave them 30 days to hammer out a finance plan for phase 2.
Cuccinelli said that Loudoun County paid for an economic study of the rail to Dulles project and "the cost benefit just is not there."
"It's a rip off," he said.
That study, however, showed the county could generate $234 million in revenue by 2040 from economic development near the new rail stations.
Cuccinelli also criticized MWAA's insistence that the contractor hires union-only contracts for anyone working on the project. The attorney general said MWAA will be violating Right to Work laws if it requires union-only contracts.