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Congressman Seeks To Rework Airports Board To Favor Va.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Rankled by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s management of a multi-billion dollar extension of the region’s Metro system, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., on Tuesday introduced legislation that would overhaul the authority’s board and give his state a majority of the board’s members.

“With both airports located in Virginia and with northern Virginia residents and local governments providing a lion’s share of the revenue for the Dulles rail project, it is only fair that the majority of the board be Virginians,” Wolf said in a statement.

Wolf says the planned design of an underground station at Dulles International Airport will cost $300 million more than an above-ground station favored by Fairfax and Loudoun counties, which will pay a portion of the project’s construction costs.

Most of the money for Phase II of the project, which extends Metrorail to Dulles, is slated to come from tolls on the Dulles Toll Road that connects the airport to the Capital Beltway. Financial consultants to MWAA released a study earlier this month revealing that tolls could rise from $2 currently to as much as $19.25 each way by 2040 to help pay for the Metro extension.

Wolf’s bill would increase the board’s size from 13 to 17. He would allow Virginia to appoint all four new members, giving it control over nine of 17 spots. Maryland, the District of Columbia and the president would continue to appoint the remaining eight board members. The legislation would also give the governors of Maryland and Virginia, the D.C. mayor and the president more authority to remove existing board members.

Both Dulles and Reagan airports are in northern Virginia but serve travelers from across the region.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a statement Tuesday supporting Wolf’s bill. A spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation said the bill is under review.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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