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Feds to audit accountability of Airports Authority

Wednesday - 6/22/2011, 5:58am  ET

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is being audited for accountability after a request from Rep. Frank Wolf. (Courtesy of Airports Authority)

Hank Silverberg,

WASHINGTON - The federal government will take a closer look at the authority that controls Dulles International Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Dulles Toll Road.

The Inspector General for the Department of Transportation will look at how the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority operates and the transparency of its decisions.

The authority is in charge of billions of taxpayer dollars that are being used to expand Metrorail to Dulles.

The 13-member board has been under scrutiny this year because of a controversial decision to build an underground subway station at the airport. The option is more expensive than an above-ground station.

"Can (the Airports Authority) verify to me that all the meetings are open? Can (the Authority) verify to me that maybe more meetings should be public?" asks Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who asked for the inquiry.

Wolf says no one has looked into the authority's transparency in 25 years.

In a news release, the DOT's Inspector General's office says the audit will focus on the accountability and openness of the authority's operations and will review federal leases with the authority.

The airports authority says Phase One of the 23-mile expansion of Metrorail to Dulles is 40 percent completed.

Phase One will cost about $3 billion.

"We want this project on rail to Dulles brought in on time and on budget," says Wolf, who has been a strong supporter of the project.

The Inspector General's audit begins next week.

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