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Old April 1st, 2006, 06:41 PM   #1
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Rail Link for Washington Dulles?

House may scuttle Kaine's Dulles rail deal
31 March 2006

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - House Speaker William J. Howell said Friday he might scuttle Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's tentative deal to allow a Washington regional airports authority to build a rail link to Dulles International Airport.

Howell said permitting the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to use Dulles Toll Road revenues to extend Metrorail to the airport is a "multibillion-dollar road giveaway with a stroke of the governor's pen."

In an escalating rhetorical battle with the governor over conflicting statewide transportation initiatives, Howell suggested Kaine failed to consider proposals from monied private consortiums to take over the toll road and pay the state billions of dollars for it.

"This administration's actions on the mega-project are shortsighted -- almost scandalously so -- and his recklessness in dealing with this vital transportation roadway only fortifies the concerns of those of us who oppose the massive tax hikes," Howell said in a news conference.

Kaine spokesman Kevin Hall called Howell's comments "scandalously reckless language."

"The speaker says we walked away from cash on the table. We don't need cash on the table. We need transportation improvements on the ground," Hall said.

Del. David Albo, R-Fairfax, said at the news conference that companies that made proposals to take over the tollway had promised upfront payments worth billions of dollars for the rights, but Kaine ignored them.

"It's sort of like going to a car dealership and saying, `Hey, I'll pay sticker,'" Albo said.

He also said Kaine failed to build in sufficient protections for consumers from sharp toll increases.

Howell said he plans to call Kaine and his secretaries of transportation and finance before legislative panels to answer questions about his "memorandum of understanding" with the MWAA necessary to complete the transaction.

He said he will ask the General Assembly's investigative arm, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, to examine the deal. And if Kaine doesn't reconsider, he said he will ask legislators to "reserve the right to review and approve this transaction before it goes into effect."

Kaine's communications director, Delacey Skinner, said the administration studied all the proposals and determined that the MWAA would complete the transit rail link to Dulles fastest. It also best assures that tollway collections would remain in the Dulles corridor, alleviating the region's debilitating highway congestion.

Hall also produced Feb. 7 letters to the governor signed by Republican legislators, including House Appropriations Committee Chairman Vincent F. Callahan Jr., Del. Thomas D. Rust and Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, all from Fairfax County, praising the MWAA proposal.

Private proposals came from five monied consortiums that include powerful financiers, international engineering firms and some of the state's most politically connected lawyers, consultants and lobbyists.

According to proposals filed with the Virginia Department of Transportation, the five are:

--Cintra, a major international developer whose projects include 17 toll roads covering more than 1,000 miles in the United States, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Canada and Ireland.

--The Dulles Corridor Mobility Initiative, which has Citigroup Global Markets Inc. handling its financing and the Hunton & Williams law firm with offices in McLean and Richmond among its 17 worldwide.

--The Dulles Express, including Merrill Lynch handling its financing and McGuire Woods, another major national law and lobbying firm that is among the most influential in Richmond, doing "government relations and community outreach."

--Dulles Smart Link, which includes investment banker Goldman Sachs, the Fluor and Jacobs engineering firms and the Reed Smith law and lobbying firms.

--Reston-based Virginia Mobility Associates LLC, a new group organized specifically to finance a new network of express toll lanes in northern Virginia.


On the Web:

Private tollway proposals: http://www.vdot.virginia.gov/project...Initiative.asp
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Old April 1st, 2006, 08:45 PM   #2
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I'll be glad when the deal is done, which is inevitable, hopefully in the next yr or so, we'll have something finalized. I'm not in total favor of rail to Dulles, it NEEDS to be in Tysons Corner, if they get a good deal, I'd be in heavy favor of rail to Dulles, I fear the momentum drop of this and then lobbying for commuter rail would take too long, eventhough it wouldn't take long to build.
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Old April 1st, 2006, 09:40 PM   #3
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I don't know if this is a done deal yet, but this article sure says it is.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 01:50 AM   #4
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It's not a done deal yet, before the airport authority offered to fund it, there was a setback b/c of price, this airport thing temporarily saved the project, now they need to make sure a good deal is being done. Only phase of the silver line somewhat of a "done deal".
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Old April 6th, 2006, 03:53 AM   #5
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I think all large airports should have a rail link to the city. I'm suprised that Dulles doesn't have such a thing yet.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 04:24 AM   #6
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Well it is about 40 minutes, other airports in a comparable situations don't have rail into the city. I'll be very thankful when it does happen which won't be for almost a decade though.
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