Private Interest In Rail To Dulles

Source: By Amy Gardner, Washington Post (VA), Monday, January 28, 2008

Private equity investors are drawing up proposals to partner with Virginia for a rail line to Dulles International Airport as hope fades that the federal government will help fund the 23-mile Metrorail extension.

State officials said several equity groups have expressed interest in investing in a rail since Thursday, when U.S. transportation officials declared the project unfit for federal funding. The $5 billion project had been counting on a $900 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

Private purchase of the rail line or the Dulles Toll Road to fund the extension would attract strong opposition from those who believe such public infrastructure is far too valuable to hand over to for-profit corporations. But with the outlook for keeping the rail project alive bleak, regional business and political leaders who are adamant that the rail line must not die are increasingly of the mind that private partnership must be considered.