MWAA chief: Dulles can’t be end of the line for Metro

When Dulles International Airport opened in 1962, it was the first U.S. airport built for commercial jet aircraft, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. (Courtesy Loudoun County)

Adam Tuss,

WASHINGTON – If Metro’s Silver Line doesn’t make it past Dulles International Airport and deeper into Loudoun County, the head of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority sees big trouble.

“We do not like the thought of our station being the last station on the line,” MWAA Chief Jack Potter told his board of directors during a meeting Wednesday. “We do not have the ability, long term, to accommodate commuters on this airport property.”

Generally, end-of-the-line Metro stations like Vienna, Shady Grove and Franconia are loaded with Metro commuter parking lots and set up to handle dozens of commuter buses.

Potter says Dulles simply isn’t designed for that right now.

“The bottom line is, if we had to draw a plan today, we would probably build a parking lot that would be distant from the main terminal (and station). People would have to come, they’d have to park, they’d have to take a bus (to the station). It’s not viable,” says Potter.

If not the bus, commuters would have to pay airport parking rates.

All eyes are now focused on Loudoun County in the ongoing rail saga. The county has until the July 4 to decide whether it wants to move forward with two planned stations at routes 606 and 772 near the Dulles Greenway.

If Loudoun County pulls out of the project and scraps the two stations beyond the Airport, it would likely delay the next phase of the project by at least a year and a half.

“We really do need to do what we can to keep Loudoun in,” says Potter.

The first phase of the Silver Line is currently under construction. It will extend Metro service from East Falls Church through Tysons Corner and out to Wiehle Avenue in Reston. It’s expected to open in late 2013.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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