News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Millions Wise and Billions Foolish: Airport Authority Opts for Above-Ground Metro Station

As widely suspected as the pressure continued to mount, the airport authority voted Wednesday to reverse itself and build the Dulles Airport Metro station above ground, in the vague proximity of the parking lots airport.

The move is hardly surprising, given the airport authority's well-publicized trip to the woodshed, courtesy of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The writing was on the wall after the Loudoun County board of supervisors publicly signaled their willingness earlier in the week to foot more of the bill for developing stations in its particleboard wastelands -- with the above-ground station as a condition.

Bottom line? Barring catastrophe, Phase 2 of the Silver Line will be built. The Dulles station will be above-ground, ugly, and inconvenient to airport travelers. Toll Road tolls will continue to rise, but maybe a bit less than the worst-case scenario (keep clapping!) And the Silver Line, which was initially billed as a much-needed connection to the airport, will actually become a tool to fuel further development in the Dulles Corridor, especially with the public-private partnerships that will wind up building the remaining stations. The good news for us in Reston is that, with the threat of the Silver Line ending at Wiehle no longer an issue, all that development will get spread out along the Dulles Corridor a bit more, and not just end with a collection of parallelograms surrounded by Loudoun cut-through commuters sitting in perpetual gridlock on Wiehle Avenue, the end.


  1. Well, I guess the professional football team better start winning or they're going to miss out on naming rights for the Loudoun County station ... because unless they're BIG winners, they'll never overcome the objections to such a politically incorrect name.

    And ... I heard yesterday a report that said the approximate distance from the station to the terminal will be from where the parking garage is now. That's doable and better than at National.

  2. This all moot anyway. Dulles will be closed down in 20 years when we all start wearing jet-packs.

  3. Since flyers won't be able to park at Dulles - commuters will saturate every lot by 8:00AM - the only way one can catch a flight is by taxi, or by Metro. If it is running, of course.

    I'm gonna' by Washington Flyer stock.

  4. Considering how much stuff a family has to haul when it goes on vacation, I'm guessing that I'm (still) going to be taking a cab to the airport. Shame, really, that the Powers That Be look to short-term costs at the expense of aesthetics, convenience and reputation. Only in Washington do you build a train system to the airport that, well, never reaches the airport. It's like some weird region of Greek Hell.

    And Public-Private Partnerships? Leave it to Fairfax County to sell its soul to the developers.

  5. Oh, you mean this thoroughly misconceived, misexecuted boondoogle just got worse.

    Shocked, shocked I tell you.

    From the preclusion of express trains, to the too short Tysons tunnel, to the lack of headway downtown, this project has been an exercise in "how can we screw this up more."

    Surprise, they've found yet another way to FUBAR!

  6. Can't please everybody. If you dig tunnels and have an underground station, some people whine it's too expensive. If you don't dig tunnels and have an underground station, other people whine that it sucks.

  7. Just build something to somewhere. Way too much talking and not enough building going on here.

  8. Restonian:

    It is time that you are taken to the woodshed for such inaccurate and incomplete reporting on Dulles Rail. Nobody has demonstrated that Phase 2 of Dulles Rail is even remotely feasible.

    The LaHood/Rogoff plan shifts several hundred $$ million to Fairfax and Loudoun taxpayers and is based on the premise that the taxpayers are too lazy and stupid to object. In the case of the Reston Association, this is obviously true.

    Why don't they move Dulles Airport to Wiehle Avenue and call the new rail terminus Cathy Hudgins/Patti Nicoson TOD International Airport?


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