Extending Metrorail to the Dulles airport and Loudoun County is the most significant transportation project under way in the region. Phase 1 is expected to be completed in early 2014 and construction on Phase 2 is expected to begin in spring 2014. The entire project is slated to be completed by July 2018.
I began to secure federal funding for the project in 1999. The federal share of Phase 1 is the second largest “Full Funding Grant Agreement” awarded by the Federal Transportation Administration in the last 20 years for a heavy rail project. It was signed on March 2009 by then-Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
I also have worked to bring more accountability to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which is overseeing the project. MWAA board members can now be removed “for cause” and must leave the board when their terms expire, instead of waiting for a replacement to be appointed under legislation I authored that was signed into law on November 18, 2011. In addition, I was successful in having language inserted in the FY 2014 omnibus spending bill to creating a permanent Inspector General for MWAA. The provision gives the IG total oversight over MWAA, its board, employees, contractors and subcontractors, and would have the authority to audit and observe closed meetings of the MWAA Board of Directors. The bill also requires MWAA to paying the expenses of the IG, including staff salaries and benefits as well as associated operating costs. While I have been pleased with the recent steps MWAA has taken to address the serious issues raised in DOT’s IG report, I believe a permanent IG is needed to prevent any future missteps.