Two Northern Virginia residents are suing the state to stop the upcoming transfer of authority over the Dulles Toll Road to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
Patrick Gray and James Nagle are named as plaintiffs in the suit filed Thursday in Richmond Circuit Court by attorney Patrick McSweeney.
The suit seeks an injunction against the transfer, which it said is invalid because the General Assembly never voted on the matter. It also said that the "contracting away of the power to tax," by allowing the airports authority to collect road tolls, is invalid.
The Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the airports authority are named as defendants.
The authority's board of directors on Dec. 20 unanimously approved a 50-year deal with the state to operate the highway and manage construction of a rail line to the airport. The vote came exactly one year after the idea of taking over the toll road from Virginia was first proposed.
Authority officials sought to take over the project out of concern that the second phase of the $4 billion, 23-mile Metro extension - which includes the link to the airport - would be delayed for years or not built at all. Part of the rail route would travel alongside the toll road.
Gray and Nagle want their toll fees to go toward maintaining the road, instead of having a predominant portion used for the rail project, McSweeney said.
The authority "places a higher priority on constructing the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project than on improving, maintaining and operating the Dulles Toll Road," the suit said.
The plaintiffs are also concerned that the state will no longer control the amount of toll fees, and that the authority "has a recent history of management failures, which warrant close scrutiny by the commonwealth before a final decision is made to transfer."
Authority officials have said they will raise fees on the Dulles Toll Road, which range from 50 cents to 75 cents, to help pay for the rail extension. But they said last month that decisions about toll increases would be made after new cost estimates on the rail project are completed this year.
Authority officials also have said they might switch to "congestion pricing," meaning the toll would vary according to traffic levels.
VDOT will transfer the toll road to the airports authority in the spring, although it would probably continue to manage it through next fall, when the airports authority would take over daily operations.
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Two Northern Virginia residents are suing the state to stop the upcoming transfer of authority over the Dulles Toll Road to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Patrick Gray and...
The agreement allows the group running the airport to take over the Toll Road and use revenue from tolls to pay for Metrorail's extension to Washington Dulles Int'l Airport.
Officials with the airports authority wanted to take over the roadway because they were concerned that 23-mile, $4 billion Metro extension to Dulles Airport will be delayed or not built at all.