Dulles Rail Project officially over budget

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The nearly $2.8 billion first phase of the Dulles Rail project is now officially expected to come in over budget.

During a meeting of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Wednesday, the project leader for Dulles Rail told the MWAA Board he is going to need an additional $150 million for the first phase.

“So, you’ve got a cost over-run and you are going to be coming back to us for more money?,” asked MWAA Boardmember Robert Clarke Brown.

“That’s correct,” answered Pat Nowakowski, head of Dulles Rail.

Actually, it won’t just be the Authority that has to kick in more — taxpayers in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties — as well as drivers on the Dulles Toll Road will have to shoulder the extra costs.

It’s been known for some time that the costs for Phase I — the section that will run from Falls Church, through Tysons Corner, and end at Reston — have been teetering to stay on budget. Safety changes made to the project after construction was already underway, are the main reason for the over-run. Issues with utility relocation in the Tysons area have also proved costly.

Now, official word that extra funding will be needed.

After the announcement, MWAA head Jack Potter said local leaders are putting the overrun in perspective.

“This is not causing panic. These numbers have been shared with the (funding) partners. Their interpretation was it’s a miracle that we have a project that’s less than 5 percent over of this magnitude,” said Potter.

After the meeting, Nowakowski said it’s not yet know if the entire $150 million will be needed. The money will be put into a contingency fund to deal with any potential issues that crop up between now and completion.

Phase I of Dulles Rail is expected to be completed and open in late 2013.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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