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Tolls could be coming to Dulles Access Road

Tuesday - 5/10/2011, 5:07am  ET

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - How would you feel about paying a toll on a road that you currently use for free? Drivers who use the Dulles Access Road regularly to get to and from Dulles International Airport may soon find out.

As part of the plan to finance the Dulles Rail Project, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is being advised to consider putting a toll on the road which is now free.

"What we are suggesting is that the Authority go ahead and start examining these things, so that they can make an informed decision about what is the best way to manage the road," says Bryan Grote, financial adviser to the Authority.

Seventy-five percent of the financing for Phase II of the Dulles Rail Project, from Reston, to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County, will come from Dulles Toll Road users. The price tag for Phase II now stands between $3.3 billion and $3.5 billion, a full $1 billion more than original estimates.

In addition to higher tolls on the Dulles Toll Road, which had been expected, plans such as setting up a toll on the Dulles Access Road, peak hour pricing on the Dulles Toll Road and distance-based pricing will likely be considered.

"That's part of the big caveat, that when we do the new traffic and revenue study, we are going to look at these other tolling options," says Grote.

The traffic and revenue study is expected to be finished in about six months.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)