Rail to Dulles: The Lawsuits Begin

A citizen’s group is suing two federal agencies, alleging they failed to ensure competitive bidding for the $2.5 billion project extension of Metro heavy rail to Tysons Corner without adequately considering a tunnel as a “reasonable alternative” to running the track above ground, reports the Associated Press.

The lawsuit, filed by members of TysonsTunnel.org, a group of community associations, small businesses and environmentalists, seeks an injunction halting federal funding of the project until a competitive bidding process and a comprehensive tunnel review are conducted.

This is not a good omen: Construction work has not even begun, and a lawsuit has been filed. I get more pessimistic about the prospects of this project with each passing week. Rail-to-Dulles is so big, so complex, and so dependent upon arbitrary wealth transfers for financing that it exceeds the capacity of the political system to process it. Tysons Corner needs to be part of the Washington heavy rail system, but not in the way that has been contrived. Our best hope now is for the project to collapse under its own weight so we can start over. Otherwise, it is destined to turn into Virginia’s answer to Boston’s Big Dig.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


6 responses to “Rail to Dulles: The Lawsuits Begin”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    This project will fail because it had too many masters

    On the one extreme is dedicated mass transit to Dulles Airport (opitmal solution express service minimum stops)

    On the other extreme is an attempt to transfrom Tysons into the the Ballson corridor (optimal solution local service maximum stops) plus a city grid street system (a whole seperate issue)

    In Between you have greater Reston who just wants something built and one or two stops

    Going forward IMHO the ultimate goal should be reducing congestion. Thats a problem that will require massive transformation and dedication from greater Tysons.

    BRT, better traffic light syncronization, and more side streets seems like good places to start.


  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I think the lawsuit is on weak ground. My understanding is that they’re suing under the part of NEPA that requires a “hard look” at alternatives.

    So they’re asking a judge to decide essentially if a “hard enough” look was taken. Judges, usually don’t substitute their judgement for the project sponsors but who knows.

    The problem with this project is a lack of a unified vision for transportation for Tysons and the Metro Airport supporters fell like they are being held hostage by those who essentially don’t want to come together with a unified vision.

    So it appears, from afar, that at least 3 factions here – metro anyway it can work, metro only if tunneled (transit done right) and the 3rd group .. opposed .. with (what I perceive) no alternate proposal other than don’t build it here.

    I don’t live there so I’m probably wrong but I will say this – the folks who live there – just had an election and I presume chose based on the candidates positions.

  3. E M Risse Avatar

    We have said a lot about Rail to Dulles See “All Aboard” at db4.dev.baconsrebellion.com

    But on the current topic Jim Bacon, NMM and Larry Gross have said it all and said it well.

    We will save the bytes.


  4. Anonymous Avatar

    More information you won’t read in the Bird Cage Liner (a/k/a WaPo). See the editorial in the Washington Examiner. “Editorial: Tysons Corner exodus is an early warning sign.” http://www.examiner.com/a-1070308~Tysons_Corner_exodus_is_an_early_warning_sign.html

    “Instead of early birds flocking to Tysons Corner to take advantage of Dulles Rail’s many supposed benefits, businesses have actually begun bailing out. More corporate tenants have left Tysons than leased office space there this year. This unexpected exodus is most likely being driven by the anticipation of five years or more of major construction chaos and tolls of up to $5 per trip to pay for it. But there is another, more ominous explanation.”


  5. Anonymous Avatar


    Why should they pay more for something that will make them worse off?

    I love it.

    Except it is going to make us ALL worse off, for all the reasons NMM noted.


  6. Anonymous Avatar

    NMM and Larry Gross have already pointed out most of the multitude of problems with Rail to Dulles. There are two others I see that make Rail to Dulles a disaster.

    First, where is the western terminus of the silver line going to be? I’m want the answers for the short term, the long term, and the extreme long term. Right now Phase 2 puts its out at Route 772. I have seen long term plans that say the silver line is going to extend to Leesburg! This makes no sense for metro. In terms of pure distance metro out to where Dulles is is questionable. Beyond that is insane.

    Second, what about the impact on the rest of the metro system? The silver line once its gets to Falls Church is no different than the orange line (until it stops at stadium-armory). All this means is three lines (blue, orange and silver) through one Potomac tunnel. The silver line does nothing for the rest of the metro system east of Falls Church.


Leave a Reply