Tolls are now forecast to climb to $8 for a round trip by 2019, a far cry from the $21.50 round-trip price tag that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority predicted would be needed if it didn't get federal financing.
But officials warned that it's difficult to accurately predict tolls 10 years out. The current projections are from a 2009 study and a new study will have to be done, officials said.
"Anything that helps the tolls we are in favor of," airports authority Chairman Charles Snelling said. "Exactly what the impact is is going to be computed."
The new agreement, which state and local officials negotiated with the U.S. Transportation Department, would trim $1 billion from the cost of the rail project's second phase, bringing it down to $2.8 billion.
Under the pact, Virginia would contribute $150 million to the project and the federal government would help local officials secure loans for hundreds of millions of dollars more. The exact amount of the loans will depend on a number of factors, including the creditworthiness of Fairfax and Loudoun counties, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said.
Fairfax and Loudoun agreed to pay for parking garages and rail stations within their jurisdictions using federal financing and funding from private partners. But the agreement includes a new safety net so if the counties fall short in funding, the airports authority and Dulles Toll Road drivers would help foot the bill.