Column: Keeping Dulles Rail On Track

Column: Keeping Dulles Rail On Track

Henry Ford once said that you should not find fault, but find a remedy, because anyone can complain. I believe this principle describes our efforts over the last year to reduce the cost of Dulles Rail and keep it moving forward.

Opponents to this critical project continue to suggest we halt progress in order to study any possible effects. Doing so would not only delay the project but would end up costing Fairfax County taxpayers and Dulles Toll Road users more in the long run, the very scenario these opponents use to justify their opposition. In order to protect taxpayers and commuters, I have worked with our County staff and our funding partners over the last year to successfully reduce the cost of Dulles Rail by over $700 million all while keeping the project on track. We chose to find remedies instead of faults.

For example, in April I made the case for an aerial station at Dulles International Airport by "walking the walk" - showing people the short distance between the proposed underground station and the aerial station. Moving the station above ground led to a cost savings of $330 million. Our County staff worked with their counterparts in Loudoun County and officials from the state and federal government over the summer to identify over $300 million in additional savings. Our work is consistent with Ford’s principle.

Stopping the progress we have fought so hard to achieve also goes against our Board’s stated commitment to "vigorously pursue economic development and revitalization opportunities." Even the most vocal opponents of Dulles Rail cannot ignore its economic development potential.

Complete preliminary engineering estimates on Phase 2 are due out soon. When they are released, our Board will have 90 days to approve our continued commitment to this ambitious project. Rail to Dulles remains my number one transportation goal. I will continue to work to keep costs down, protect County residents and Toll Road users, and keep Rail to Dulles moving forward.