WASHINGTON — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board of directors did a turnaround on Wednesday and voted 11 to 1 to approve the construction of an above-ground station for the metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport.
MWAA had pushed hard for an underground station, but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood included an above-ground station in his proposal to reduce costs and settle a dispute between the authority and two Virginia counties over the growing cost of the project.
The MWAA board voted for a resolution approving the above-ground station, subject to certain conditions being met. One condition is that Loudoun and Fairfax Counties agree to assume full responsibility for the funding of some of the parking garages and three metrorail stations or, in the event that that doesn’t happen, the federal government provides financial assistance to MWAA for the facilities.
Another condition is that the Commonwealth of Virginia provide an additional $150 million for the project and that the federal government commit to provide funding to offset toll rates.
Loudoun County has tentatively approved the LaHood proposal, subject to conditions, and Fairfax County is to vote on the framework of the proposal next week, sources said.