Dulles Metrorail Expansion: Loudoun County approves Silver Line funding

Photo: Flickr/Chris Dag

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The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has narrowly voted to approve funding for the controversial Metro Silver Line project.

The vote, which passed by a 5-4 margin,, will commit about $270 million toward the second phase of the Dulles Metrorail project, which will extend the Silver Line into the eastern part of Loudoun County.

It's unclear when construction will get underway.

The vote was tight and tense; it involved who will pay for Loudoun County's share of the Metrorail project and how it would be financed. Supervisor Janet Clarke, who voted no, said that the prospect of the unknown costs beyond the $270 million made her sick to her stomach.

"Let's say, hypothetically, the amount doubles, which it very well could," Clarke said. "That's a problem."

However, those who did vote yes on the all-Republican board said that they didn't want to thumb their nose at constituents who want Metro in the county.

"My big dream is that we would return people to Loudoun as a workplace," Priscilla Godfrey, a lifelong Loudoun County resident, said.

The board also says they are going to consider implementing special tax districts in the county to raise more than the hundreds of millions already committed to the project. Chairman Scott York added that the commitment to Phase II will not pull money from schools, roads or other county needs.

"This will impact us for the better for many, many, many years," York said.

The first $2.75 billion phase of the project is already under way and will extend the region's flagship mass-transit system from Falls Church through Tysons Corner to Reston. It is scheduled for completion in late 2013.

The second phase will be funded largely by toll increases on the Dulles Toll Road. But it also requires funding contributions from the state of Virginia and Fairfax and Loudoun counties. It includes a station at Dulles and two in eastern Loudoun County.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.