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Davis: Counties would 'look like idiots' if they bail on Dulles rail

Wednesday - 9/7/2011, 1:20pm  ET

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Former Virginia Congressman and current vice chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Tom Davis says Fairfax and Loudoun counties will "look like idiots" if they walk away from the second phase of the Dulles Metrorail Project.

Davis made the comment to reporters Wednesday after a meeting of the MWAA Board of Directors.

"To walk away from this opportunity, 30 years from now they are going to look like idiots," Davis said. "The legacy you leave by walking away from this is not a good one, because you are not walking away with rail out the (Dulles) corridor, you are walking away with a terminus at Wiehle Avenue."

All indications are that a funding agreement to move the second phase of the project forward is progressing. But Davis says there are "opt-out" clauses that would give Fairfax and Loudoun the ability to leave the project.

The project's second phase consists of the segment that will run from Wiehle Avenue to Dulles International Airport and then continue into Loudoun County.

As part of a plan put together by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Fairfax County and Loudoun would have to pay for the construction of some parking garages at new Metro stations along the line. Fairfax County would also have to pay for the construction of the planned Metro station at Route 28.

The counties, along with the commonwealth of Virginia, the Airports Authority, and the federal government have all been trying to hammer out a funding agreement that would slash as much as $1 billion from the $3.5 billion price tag of the second phase of the project.

"I think we basically have a deal (though)," Davis said. "We clearly have a handshake, we have signatures. And although nothing is done until it's done, I think we are basically there."

New MWAA head Jack Potter -- the former postmaster general -- also told the MWAA Board Wednesday that talks to firm up a funding agreement for the second phase of the project are advancing in a positive direction.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova has told WTOP the project absolutely will go forward.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)