Torian Wants Rail to Woodbridge

Dale City Patch

By Dan Telvock | June 11, 2011

Del. Luke Torian joined two other democratic lawmakers this week to ask the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to include rail stations in Fort Belvoir and Woodbridge when it updates the Metro map this year.

Torian, Del. Scott Surovell and Sen. Toddy Puller all co-signed the letter to MWAA board members urging them to conceptualize the extension of the Yellow Line to Fort Belvoir and the Blue Line intro Woodbridge. The Metro map hasn’t been redesigned in 40 years, the letter states.

The Silver Line that extends rail from Falls Church to Dulles International Airport and eastern Loudoun County will be put on the map.

The three Virginia lawmakers’ push for getting the stations on the new map might just be an early attempt to see if rail to Woodbridge is the next line to galvanize voters.  Torian, Surovell and Puller said extending both the Blue and Yellow lines have been discussed before and several community groups have endorsed the concept.

The trio’s request comes at a rough time for MWAA board members and officials in Fairfax and Loudoun counties—the three funding partners for both phases of the Silver Line rail extension that’s underway northeast of Woodbridge. Before U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came to Northern Virginia as a mediator June 1, elected leaders in Fairfax and Loudoun counties were at odds with MWAA board members. The  friction is over MWAA’s April 6 decision to build a more expensive underground station at Dulles Airport instead of the cheaper above-ground version. The second phase of the project that will bring rail to the airport and eastern Loudoun is estimated to cost $3.5 billion, which is a billion more than original estimates. The potential for a much more expensive project will result in even more drastic increases in Dulles Toll Road tolls, which MWAA is using to pay for 75 percent of the project.

A few Loudoun supervisors got so upset about MWAA’s station decision that they threatened to not fund its share of the second phase unless the above-ground station is built at the airport, saving about $330 million.

LaHood gave the funding partners 30 days to come up with a financial plan for phase two that cuts costs.

Phase one of extending rail to Reston is over 30 percent complete, but it took about two decades to get to this point.

There is no funding in place to extend rail to Fort Belvoir and Woodbridge, so conceptual stations on a map may be all anyone sees for a long time. The letter form the three Virginia lawmakers states that traffic on I-95 and U.S. 1 will only worsen when the military base realignments and closing are complete for Fort Belvoir. Extending the Blue Line south of its end at Franconia-Springfield would serve thousands of commuters who clog I-95.

“Extending the Blue Line to Woodbridge and Dale City would spur revitalization to the Route 1 corridor, bring relief to people with some of the longest commutes in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and take cars off the constantly clogged Interstate I-95,” the letter states.

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