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Linking Dulles Airport to D.C.'s Metro?

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Najeeb Halaby wants to complete the original concept for Washington's Dulles International Airport, and he wants to make some money doing it. Mr. Halaby was federal aviation administrator during the Kennedy administration, when Dulles was built. At the time, he said, the plan called for a Disneyland-like monorail to run from Washington to the airport, which is located about 20 miles out of town in Virginia.

``But the airport cost about double what the Eisenhower administration had predicted,'' he said, ``so there was no money left for the monorail.''

Now 25 years later, Halaby is heading a private organization known as Dulles Access Rapid Transit (DART) that is studying the possibility of building a passenger line to connect Dulles with the new Washington Metro transit system that is being built to reach Vienna, Va., from Washington.

DART's board of directors, which includes two former secretaries of transportation as well as Virginia real estate developers, has put up ``several hundred thousand dollars'' to study the possibility, Halaby says.

The group wants to build the line with private money, but the number of air travelers who would take the train to Dulles would be too few to justify it. The train would have to be used predominantly by people either commuting into the city or traveling to commercial areas growing up along the line.

For private enterprise to build and operate such a line at a profit, he said, a company would have to get money from more sources than just fares. The FAA would have to donate the right of way that lies between the lanes on the Dulles Access Road and allow for real estate development at Dulles. Fairfax County would have to grant zoning changes and development rights at station sites along the route, he said.


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