After declaring the planned Metro extension through Northern Virginia unfit for federal funds, the Federal Transit Administration has given tentative approval for the project, provided local governments contribute additional funding.
"Federal transportation officials revived a long-sought Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport yesterday, but they attached daunting conditions, including a demand for a major influx of cash into the Metro system.
In a conference call with Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and Virginia congressional leaders, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said that the first phase of the rail line planned between Arlington and Loudoun counties had finally met the Federal Transit Administration's standards for cost efficiency, construction and expected ridership. The project will now move into the final design phase, a major step toward receiving $900 million in federal funding.
Peters's announcement represented a reversal from her position in January, when she and FTA chief James S. Simpson declared the project unfit for federal funding. The decision was hailed by a broad group of business and political leaders who credited Peters and Kaine for pushing tirelessly over the past three months for changes to the project that would qualify it for approval.
Virginia has sought a rail line to Dulles for more than 40 years, not only to connect Washington to its major international airport but also to promote development and growth through the state's most concentrated job corridor."