The cost of using the Dulles Toll Road will go up next year.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors signed off on a 25-cent toll increase for both the ramps and the main plaza Wednesday, bringing the cost for a full trip on the highway from $2.25 to $2.75. This rate increase will go into effect Jan. 1.
Rates will increase again in 2014, to $2.50 at the main plaza or $3.50 per trip, but the board opted to hold off on setting rates for 2015. The board had been considering a rate of $4.50 per trip for 2015.
Frank “Rusty” Conner, chairman of the board’s finance committee, proposed delaying the decision on the 2015 toll rate until June 30 of next year.
“Between now and June 30, we will know a lot of things we don’t know today,” he said, including whether the project qualifies for federal TIFIA loans, which would save on the debt costs of the project; the actual cost of the rail project’s second phase; and whether the project is likely to receive any additional funding from Virginia.
Airports authority CEO Jack Potter said MWAA is also concerned about raising tolls too high, too fast and causing drivers to seek alternative routes.
The airports authority has applied for up to $1.8 billion in federal TIFIA loans, although it would be unlikely to actually receive that amount. While not a grant, the use of TIFIA financing would greatly reduce MWAA’s borrowing costs, therefore reducing the burden on toll road users.
Conner and MWAA staff said they are “optimistic” that the authority will qualify for some level of TIFIA.
Additional state funding would also be used to buy down tolls.
“We’re committed to keeping the tolls lower,” Conner said.