Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair, Sharon Bulova, gave a tour of the county’s preferred Dulles Airport Metro station alternative to a group of journalists on Tuesday afternoon.
Both Fairfax and Loudoun counties, as well as the Commonwealth of Virginia, have expressed their preferred option for the station would be to build it at the daily parking garage across from the main terminal, Bulova said.
Last week the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board chose to construct the location underground in front of the main terminal.
She said she wanted to do the tour to show that those who use the Metro to get to and from the airport won’t have to withstand the elements to get from the station to the terminal. She also wanted to show that trip doesn’t take very long.
The entire walk from the garage to the terminal was in a climate-controlled, well-lit tunnel with moving sidewalks and signage to the terminal. For much of the walk Bulova stood still on the moving sidewalks.
After journeying from the parking garage to the area where the underground station is to be located four minutes had passed. It took an additional three to get to the terminal, for a total of a seven-minute trip. Bulova said many airport passengers are already walking the full distance when they use the garage.
Bulova said not only would locating the Metro station at the garage save more than $330 million, it also provides a beautiful view of the terminal that passengers might miss otherwise. She said moving the location of the Metro station will only save travelers about 300 feet of walking or less.
In addition to saving money, the above ground station could be finished six months sooner than the below ground station, Bulova said.
“The percentage of people actually coming to the airport station to get on a plane will be a relatively small percentage,” Bulova said. Most who use the station will be employees and the garage location is more convenient for them, she said.
“I hope that MWAA will agree to reconsider their decision,” Bulova said. “We’re hoping to get the MWAA board to step back, take a look at what the decision is and hopefully reconsider.”
Bulova said she spoke with MWAA board chairman Charles Snelling yesterday and they are working to meet face to face to talk about the issue. Snelling lives in Pennsylvania.
Though some members of MWAA’s board are from Virginia, many members are from Washington, D.C. and Maryland and are making decisions that impact Fairfax County financially, which is another reason the Fairfax County board isn’t happy with the decision, Bulova said. “This is a Virginia decision,” she said.
Bulova said she hopes to be able to provide more information to those who believe that a Metro station near the daily parking garage will mean people have to walk a long distance outdoors.
“I think very few people realize that right now there is an underground tunnel that brings you from the north garage location right here to the terminal,” she said. “I think most people just don’t know that.”