WASHINGTON — A long shot federal class-action lawsuit filed by long-time critics of the Dulles Toll Road argues the tolls are unconstitutional and the agency that runs the road does not have the proper authority to exist.
The complaint filed in federal court in Washington earlier this month argues that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which also runs Reagan National Airport and Dulles International, “wields an almost unlimited power,” and that the airports authority’s management of construction of the Silver Line “is the most egregious example of MWAA’s extra-constitutional regime.”
The airports authority had no comment on the suit.
The lawsuit argues that the airports authority is not subject to checks and balances, and that, since D.C. is not a state, the airports authority cannot be a legal interstate compact covering D.C., Virginia and federal interests.
The suit asks for “monetary relief that will offer restitution to the hundreds of thousands of Toll Road users who have already been victimized.”
That monetary relief would be the value of the actual tolls paid above 2008 toll rates, plus interest, returned to anyone who has paid to use the Dulles Toll Road since November 2008. That’s the date the Virginia Department of Transportation handed over operation of the toll road to the airports authority.
Were the lawsuit to succeed, the total would likely be hundreds of millions of dollars.
Under the agreement reached about ten years ago, MWAA operates the Dulles Toll Road, with toll revenues playing a key role in funding the Silver Line construction.
The lawsuit also claims that the toll increases above 2008 rates violate Fifth Amendment due process protections because they are an unconstitutional fee.
Among other things, the suit asks the court for an order declaring “illegal and unconstitutional” any tolls used to fund the Silver Line construction or “other activities unrelated to the Toll Road.”