Rail to Dulles cleared a major hurdle as US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters signed off on the estimated $5.2 billion funding plan.
After a series of regulatory setbacks in 2008, rail to Dulles was revived last month when the Federal Transit Administration discarded long-standing skepticism about the project's cost and management and sent it on to Peters for final action. Yesterday's news marks what state, local and congressional boosters said is the government's irreversible approval of the project.
"It's an exhilarating feeling," said Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who praised Peters and Northern Virginia's congressional delegation for working together to keep the rail line alive. "It's going to be a wonderful project for the whole region."
Peters's action releases the project to Congress for a 60-day comment period. After that, the project qualifies for a $900 million federal transit grant that state, local and congressional leaders have said is essential to its success.
The first phase of the project, scheduled to run on elevated tracks through Tyson's Corner is now scheduled for a 2013 completion date.