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Wolf wants audit of Dulles Rail costs

Wednesday - 2/16/2011, 10:21am  ET

Dulles Rail Project (WTOP Photo/Kristi King)
The ultimate cost of both phases of the 23-mile extension into Loudoun County could top $6.7 billion. (WTOP Photo/Kristi King)
Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - The current Congressional review of every federal dollar being spent has Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., pushing for additional oversight on one of the region's largest transportation undertakings: the Dulles Rail Project.

Wolf, who has been a strong supporter of the project, is now asking the U.S. Department of Transportation's inspector general to take a close look at the cost of both phases of construction.

Wolf says he doesn't want the costs to get out of hand.

"We have seen this in other projects and I think when you get on top of it early, you can pretty much guarantee that it won't take place," he says.

The project is partially being financed by money collected on the Dulles Toll Road. Wolf says he wants to protect those drivers from sky-high toll prices.

He also wants to keep the project from becoming another "Big Dig" -- the notorious Boston, Mass. tunnel project that went billions of dollars over cost and finished years behind schedule.

Wolf says he has no evidence so far of major cost overruns with the Dulles Rail Project.

The ultimate cost of both phases of the 23-mile extension into Loudoun County could top $6.7 billion.

Wolf had asked the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority, which is building the rail line, for a similar audit in December, but received no response.

This time, Wolf's request is backed by Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)