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Loudoun votes to move Dulles rail forward

Tuesday - 7/3/2012, 12:25pm  ET

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York says the project will help relieve traffic in the County. (WTOP/Adam Tuss)

WASHINGTON - The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has voted 5-4 to allow work on the second phase of the Dulles Metrorail Project to move forward.

"This is huge. This is probably - for me - just the most significant vote. This will impact us, I think for the better, for many, many years," says Loudoun County Board Chairman Scott York.

York says the project will help relieve traffic in the County.

"If you don't have rail, where are you putting the people? On the roads," says York.

"This just simply hooks up a giant 10 foot pipe and proceeds to suck out millions of dollars a year," says Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio who was perhaps the biggest opponent of the project on the board.

County leaders had expressed concern about the cost of the Silver Line extension, as well as an initial decision by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority - which is building the rail project - to give preference to union labor for the job. The authority last month dropped the controversial pro-union preference.

The total cost for the second phase, which will operate from Reston to Dulles International Airport and continue with two stops in Loudoun, is estimated to be around $2.8 billion. Loudoun County is on the hook for about $260 million of that total.

Speaking to the financial strain the project will put on the county, Delgaudio says, "There's no difference between the pirates and the vikings who came to their respective shores to plunder and pillage and Metro."

If Loudoun County had pulled out of the project, it essentially would have killed two planned Metro stations at routes 606 and 772 near the Dulles Greenway.

The project's second phase could be completed in about five years.

WTOP's Adam Tuss contributed to this report. Follow Adam and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)