Silver Line extension construction rolling along

HERNDON, Va. — Construction of the Silver Line’s second phase remains on track and is meeting both financial and timeline goals.

Members of the Dulles Corridor Advisory Meeting gathered in Herndon Thursday to get an update on both the Silver Line construction and on finances for the Dulles Toll Road.

Drivers heading to or from Dulles International Airport have likely seen the progress on the Silver Line extension already underway. Work crews are building tunnels to run utilities, constructing columns and guideways to carry the tracks over roadway, and completing early groundwork on new Metrorail stations.

Overall, developers say about 10 percent of the construction is complete so far and the second phase is on pace to open up early in 2020.

The first two stations being built are Innovation and Herndon, with the Reston station getting started early next year.

Financially, the project is still on pace to meet its budget goals. And the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority agreed to contribute $33 million to be put directly toward the construction of the Innovation station, saving local stakeholders from coming up with those funds.

Dulles Toll Road usage

Dulles Toll Road revenues for 2015 are at about 98 percent of the forecast total. Revenues were weakened primarily by winter weather that reduced travel early in the year. The agency is expecting about $154 million in revenue this year, a slight increase from nearly $149 million generated in 2014 and $127 million in 2013.

Tolls were last raised at the beginning of 2014, which caused the spike in total revenue. Tolls will not increase until 2019 but officials say they want to minimize any toll future increases.

While toll revenue has risen, toll transactions have not. During the past three years, transactions have ranged between 96 million and 99 million, although the transaction totals have met or exceeded forecasts in each of those years.

The amount of money the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority generates from the Dulles Toll Road affects the authority’s ability to uphold its obligation to cover the cost of building the Silver Line to Dulles International Airport and beyond into Loudoun County. Revenue from the toll road is responsible for covering roughly half the cost of the $5.76 billion rail project.

The second phase of the line is expected to cost about $2.8 billion.

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