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Virginia negotiating to buy Dulles Greenway

Wednesday - 1/16/2013, 4:22am  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

RICHMOND, Va. - The complaints have been growing louder from commuters who have to pay tolls on both the Dulles Greenway and the Dulles Toll Road, and the sound may have reached all the way to Virginia's General Assembly in Richmond.

Del. Joe May, R-Loudoun, has confirmed to WTOP that the state is negotiating with the owners of the private Dulles Greenway, "The Toll Road Investors Partnership," to purchase the 14-mile road that runs from Dulles International Airport to Leesburg.

"We have pretty well decided what we think is a reasonable deal to strike, and we're going to see if we can do it," says May.

The purchase price could be hundreds of millions of dollars.

"We can issue revenue bonds which don't count against our debt cap," says May. "The tolls that are already being collected would service the debt to the commonwealth."

The tolls go as high as $5.80 in peak times on the sparsely used Greenway and the company that owns the Greenway has requested additional hikes from the State Corporation Commission.

At the same time, May says the state also is discussing the use of $500 million in state bonds to help finance the Dulles Rail Project, which could keep the tolls on that road lower.

The toll money on the Dulles Toll Road, currently operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, is being used to partially finance the Metrorail expansion to Dulles International Airport. That road runs from Interstate 495 to the airport on its eastern side and connects to the Dulles Greenway.

The Dulles Toll Road plan faces a tougher road in the General Assembly.

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