Fairfax County seeks state cash for Silver Line station

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Local,Virginia,Transportation,Liz Essley,Fairfax County,Metro and Traffic

Fairfax County is seeking state funds to help pay for its share of Silver Line costs -- a move that has at least one other funding partner upset.

The county agreed in 2011 to pay for one Metrorail station and two garages as part of an agreement to help cut costs for the second phase of the $6 billion Silver Line, which will extend the railway from Reston into Loudoun County, past Washington Dulles International Airport.

Loudoun County also agreed to foot the bill for three garages in the project. The moves were meant to alleviate burdens on drivers who pay Dulles Toll Road tolls, which will finance most of the second phase of the Silver Line.

But now Fairfax County is seeking $41 million to help build the Innovation Center Metro station at Route 28 from a pool of funds that the state will collect and dole out to Northern Virginia as part of Gov. Bob McDonnell's new $6 billion transportation package.

Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York says that's not fair.

"That's not accepting their responsibility," he said. "I don't view the [state] money as an option. If they can't build the Route 28 station, then they need to come forward and say they can't, and then it needs to go back into the [overall] project [costs]."

But Fairfax County Department of Transportation Director Tom Biesiadny said the county is doing what it agreed to do: find other ways to fund the new Metrorail station without charging it to toll payers.

"We've committed to look for other sources of funding, and we've heard from people around the region about the potential for increase in tolls on the toll road. And as a result of that, we did commit to use our best efforts to seek funding from other sources," he said. "I don't think there's any prohibition for Fairfax County to seek the money from [the state]."

The station will cost $136 million, according to earlier estimates.

The first phase of the Silver Line is set to open at the end of this year. The second phase won't be ready until at least 2018, officials have said.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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