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Users Talk Tolls at Reston MWAA Meeting

Airports Authority collecting public opinion, but will it be enough to control rising Dulles Toll Road rates?

Citizens came to in Reston Wednesday night to talk about tolls and there were plenty of people there from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) there to listen.

Wednesday night's event was the second of three public meetings organized by the group that oversees the Dulles Toll Road and the construction of the Metrorail's Silver Line.

But will public opinion be enough to slow the rise in toll road rates?  

Under the toll rate proposal, the combined main plaza and ramp tolls, currently $2.25 for 2-axle vehicles, would increase to $2.75 in 2013, $3.50 in 2014 and $4.50 in 2015 in order to help fund the construction of the Silver Line Phase 2.

Advocacy group Reston2020 predicts tolls for area motorists will be $6.75. However, MWAA CEO Jack Potter says not so fast—through targeted government lobbying and finding alternate funding solutions, MWAA may be able to put the brakes on rising tolls and still get Phase 2 from Wiehle Avenue to Loudoun County built.

"We are going to focus on solutions," Potter told a citizen who told him he found rising toll rates "unacceptable."

"That is the No. 1 thing we can do. We are going to focus on how we can get better financing rates. We are going to lobby the federal government to get more TIFIA [Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act] Funds," Potter said.

Terry Maynard of Reston2020 has done extensive research on the topic of rising tolls. He wants MWAA to work to get the Toll Road users' share down to 25 percent of costs - about half of the current forecast.

"If they can't get there, then they shouldn't build Phase 2," he said.

Reston's Robert Dobkin filled out a comment form at the meeting. (MWAA is also collecting comments on its website.) Dobkin says he takes alternate routes whenever he can to avoid paying the toll. He predicts he—as well as thousands of other drivers—will do the same if rates continue to rise.

"I am just offended that the funding of the Silver Line has been put on the backs of the commuters," he said. "They should think about the users - and get costs down. The effort should be led by Virginia's members of Congress and the Senate. It's not too late."

There will be a final open house-style meeting on Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Spring Hill Elementary School, 8201 Lewinsville Road, McLean.

Comments and questions will be put into a comment report that will be published at www.mwaa.com/tollroad in late October. After that, a recommendation will be made to the MWAA Board of Directors for action later this year.

Navid Roshan September 17, 2012 at 07:08 PM
? I literally prefaced everything with exactly how I derive my logical points. I am engineer, assertions are guesses, proper analysis should specify what your assumptions are and where you are getting your information. All of which I have done above if you actually read what I wrote instead of trying to pick a fight with me for some really abnormal reason. Again, I have been extremely critical of WMATA, to the point of saying that if NOVA got it's act together, part of the lost funding we give away to Richmond to spend on projects that dont improve anyones lives or economy, could start its own system. We in NOVA have for too long lived the life as the suburb of DC, when in almost every right we are the actual center of commerce in this region. So again, in this case, I agree with you, WMATA didnt pay at all for the silver line expansion, therefore no additional funds beyond the current pro-rata share of Virginia's system should go to WMATA. As far as your fear mongering on the subject of lack of funds for WMATA expansions, cite sources for your own blatherings, and please indicate what the hell this has to do with the article about MWAA and DTR neither of which have ANYTHING to do with WMATA. Your circular logic makes my head hurt, and I seriously need to stop discussing things with you because you simply want to rile up people instead of discussing logical solutions and ways forward.
Sushil September 24, 2012 at 10:17 PM
We don't have super pac or special interest to create awareness among public. I bet if even 10% public come to know this robbery we can make MWAA accountable for all their mismanagement.
Ray Wedell November 15, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Hi Bob, I like your insight. I have considered Tom Davis to be cut from a different cloth than other politicians. How prominent is his role in this now, and is their hope that he will speak for the citizens? Just wondering your opinion on this.
Ray Wedell November 15, 2012 at 01:24 PM
I don't take the subway now, and won't be. I do drive regularly in the local area. I am really looking forward to upcoming traffic jams around Wiehle, and having my back broken by carrying the load of ridiculous toll hikes to pay for bloated salaries of "leaders" who could care less about me or any citizen. All to fund something I won't be using. But that die was cast lonnnng ago. I assume that my once-every-year trip to a Nationals game will cost me $28 or so on rail, take 75 minutes, and I will need to leave the game before they shut down service on the D.C. end at an early hour. It would be cheaper to take a stretch limousine to the game and not have to pay all the endless toll road and subway taxes for years.
No Toll Increase November 15, 2012 at 02:42 PM
MWAA is a total embarrassment. One USDOT IG investigation complete, another (Dulles Rail-specific) in progress, and an FBI investigation in-progress too... Yet they continue to raise tolls on commuters for a project few of us will use. Virginia must take or toll road back from MWAA and put an end to this corruption and abuse. Sign the petition at www.noTOLLincrease.org. There are better ways to solve our transportation problems!

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