July 18th, 2022
The Board of Directors of the Reston Citizens Association (RCA) hereby publishes the following statement on the toll raise proposed by the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA):
The recent proposal by the MWAA to increase the toll rates of the Dulles Toll Road (DTR) raise several questions that should be answered for the sake of transparency:
1. What is the budget for spending the new revenue generated by the toll increase? Specifically, what are the percentages of the toll raise that will be used to fund the Silver Line expansion, for road maintenance and upkeep for the DTR, and for debt service of the silver line expansion?
2. There is no budget that addresses where funding will be allocated following the Silver Line expansion’s long delayed completion. With the Silver Line expansion imminently opening in 2022, and the proposed implementation of the toll raise in 2023, what will the new funding be directed towards upon the Silver Line’s completion?
3. What will MWAA do to add and expand incentives or credits for commuters to carpool on the DTR? This could make the rate increase more manageable for some users of the toll road, as well as assisting with the Silver Line’s purpose of reducing vehicular congestion and environmental impact in the surrounding community.
4. Has the MWAA modeled the impact of reduced usage of the DTR due to increased tolls and have those impacts been factored into the expected toll increases?
While the additional transportation options offered by the Silver Line expansion will provide a public good, a toll raise will place a financial strain on commuters. This hardship will impact large parts of our community in a time of very high inflation, rising grocery bills, and high gas prices.
Many people in our community simply do not have the bandwidth to withstand another increased expense during this time of economic uncertainty. They may be forced to use alternative routes other than the DTR, which would cause greater congestion on our community’s local roadways, as well as being counterproductive to the purpose of the Silver Line and DTR. Thus, any toll raise should be considered with the utmost care.
Therefore, we ask that the MWAA provide answers to the above listed questions to the public, and delay implementation of the toll raise by one year so the economic situation of the community can improve.
We hope the MWAA can provide transparency and pursue policies that will be to the benefit of DTR and Silver Line users in the transportation corridor.