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Rep. Wolf not happy with Dulles Rail construction plan

Tuesday - 4/19/2011, 10:52am  ET

Frank Wolf (WTOP Photo/Andrew Mollenbeck)
Rep. Frank Wolf says the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority is out of touch. (WTOP Photo/Andrew Mollenbeck)

Andrew Mollenbeck, wtop.com

HERNDON, Va. - Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., calls the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority "out of touch" and "out of control" regarding its decision to build the Dulles rail station underground.

Following a news conference outside his field office, Wolf was candid but pointed regarding his view of MWAA.

"I think unfortunately, the board is out of control," he says.

The board voted earlier this month to build the rail station underground and closer to the airport, instead of an above-ground alternative.

"This is an indication that they're out of touch with the people of the region," Wolf says, noting the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and others that supported the above-ground option.

Wolf, along with state and county transportation officials, maintains the decision will cost an additional $300 million, and the cost will hit drivers especially hard via tolls in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties.

Mame Reiley, an MWAA board member and chair of the Dulles Corridor Committee, wrote a Washington Post column defending the decision.

The board is "not finished with cost-cutting," she writes. "We are confident that we can significantly reduce the final costs by finding savings elsewhere in the Dulles Rail project."

"In addition, the service life of an underground station is more than twice that of an above ground facility."

But Wolf hinted at a larger issue that called into question MWAA's entire structure. He would be willing to reconsider how the board is assembled.

"We're going to take a close look at this," he says, while leaving out what that might entail.

To illustrate his point, he cited a recent vote to decide the agency's new president and CEO.

"The deciding vote was cast by a man who had not been there for two years, who was on house arrest in the Ivory Coast," he says.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)