Driving on the Dulles Toll Road has gotten more expensive in recent years, as more revenues are needed to finance construction of the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line, but rates now are poised to go even higher.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board of directors voted Nov. 14 to increase rates on the toll road again, starting this coming January.
Drivers of two-axle vehicles, who now pay $2.50 at the main toll plaza, will see that rate jump to $3.25, and those entering or exiting tolled ramps will pay $1.50, up from the current $1.
MWAA’s board last raised the toll road’s rates in 2014, in part because additional funding and financing sources have become available for Phase 2 of the Silver Line’s construction.
Under the agency’s Silver Line construction contract, MWAA must use toll-road revenues to help fund the project. The project also is funded by the state and federal governments, as well as Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
Drivers of larger vehicles also will pay more starting next year to use the toll road, which is divided down the middle by the toll-free Dulles Airport Access Road.
Those who drive three-axle vehicles now will pay $6.50 at the main toll plaza (up from $5) and $3 (up from $2) at tolled entrance and exit ramps. Four-axle-vehicle drivers will pay $7.75 at the main plaza (up from $6.25) and $3.50 at other tolled ramps (up from $2.50). Those driving five-axle vehicles will be charged $9 at the main plaza (up from $7.50) and $4 at other ramps (up from $3), while those behind the wheel of vehicles having six or more axles will pay $10.25 at the main toll plaza (up from $8.75) and $4.50 at other tolled ramps (up from $3.50).
The increases are consistent with the financing plan, which calls for periodic toll-rate hikes to fulfill the debt obligation, said MWAA board chairman Warner Session.
MWAA approved the hikes after considering public input at three toll-rate public hearings this summer, plus public comments received online and recommendations from the Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee, he said.
“We appreciate the invaluable feedback from communities interested in the Airports Authority’s toll-rate-setting process,” Session said in a media statement. “Through the meetings and the online forum, we received not just toll-rate comments, but also actionable recommendations to consider on a range of subjects.”
The new toll rates will remain in effect until the next planned increase in 2023, MWAA officials said.
Arthur Purves, president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance, said Tysons developers, not taxpayers, should have to foot the bill for the Silver Line’s construction.
“No one has disclosed the millions – billions? – made by Tysons Corner landowners due to increased land values resulting from the Silver Line and relaxation of zoning restrictions,” Purves wrote in an e-mail to the Sun Gazette. “The landowners probably could have, and should have, financed the Silver Line from their profits. These toll hikes are an example of politicians robbing the taxpayers to make the rich landowners richer and to benefit from the landowners’ campaign contributions.”
MWAA is overseeing construction of the 23-mile, 11-station Silver Line extension. The project’s first five-station phase, from Falls Church to Wiehle Avenue in Reston, opened in 2014, It is operated by the Washington Metropoliton Area Transit Authority.
MWAA, established in 1987 by the governments of Virginia and the District of Columbia, manages and operates Ronald Reagan National and Washington Dulles International airports. Governed by a 17-member board of directors, the agency also operates and maintains the Dulles access and toll roads.