Appeals Court Hears Arguments in Dulles Toll Road Case

October 2, 2012 8:11 pmBy: 
photo

The toll road on a light travel day

Is the Dulles Toll Road toll a toll? Or a tax? And who has jurisdiction to make the decision?

Those are among the questions being pondered by a three-judge panel of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in D.C., which today heard arguments from the group called “No Toll Increase.” The group has challenged the legality of using a portion of the tolls collected on the busy commuter highway to fund construction and operation of the Metro Silver Line.

The group’s attorney, Bob Sincar, argued before the panel that, under Virginia law, proceeds from tolls can only be used to fund construction and maintenance of the roads and bridges on which the toll is collected. He also argued that since the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which owns the toll road and is building the Silver Line, is not an elected body it does not have the authority to impose a tax.

But the MWAA’s attorney, Stuart Raphael, said the tolls are clearly user fees, not a tax, since they only imposed on those using the road, not on those who choose to use other roads, take the train or stay home.  He argued that all the proceeds of the tolls are used within the Dulles transportation corridor, thereby benefiting everyone within the corridor.

A question that could derail the court’s deliberations is whether it has jurisdiction over the matter. One judge suggestion the case should be heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which includes Virginia.

The MWAA is an interstate compact. Its governing board is made up of representatives appointed by elected officials from Virginia, D.C., and the federal government. None of its members answers directly to voters and until recently, the board operated largely without oversight. It has since come under withering criticism for lavish spending, lax personnel policies and displaying a lack of concern to local citizens’ sensitivities.

Comments

More Top Stories

  • Top Stories Transportation Warner, Connolly on Metro: “Some answers but a lot of questions remain”

    Warner, Connolly on Metro: “Some answers but a lot of questions remain”

    The virtual blackout on information about the Jan. 12 Metro accident that killed one woman and hospitalized more than 80 others continued today, with a few rays of light getting through as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) briefed members of the Virginia, Maryland and District Congressional delegations. Shamefully, all agencies except the D.C. City Council have kept the taxpayers and commuters who pay for the Metro system in the dark, assuring them […]

    Read more →
  • Centreville Chantilly Clifton County Government Oakton Politics Top Stories Schoeneman announces candidacy to succeed Frey in Sully District

    Schoeneman announces candidacy to succeed Frey in Sully District

    Fairfax County Electoral Board Secretary Brian Schoeneman has announced his intent to run for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, seeking the seat being vacated by Supervisor Michael Frey (R-Sully), who announced his retirement on Monday. Schoeneman immediately picked up the endorsement of Pat Herrity (R-Springfield), who said he supported Schoeneman “100%.” “Having spent the last two years supervising elections in Fairfax County, I realized that I could better serve my community by putting my name on a ballot, rather […]

    Read more →
  • County Government Politics Top Stories Sully District’s Michael Frey won’t run again

    Sully District’s Michael Frey won’t run again

    Sully District Supervisor Michael Frey says he will not seek re-election to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Frey, a 24-year veteran, made the announcement in an email to his constituents this morning, saying that during his time on the board, Fairfax County has “grown and developed into one of the most amazing places to live, work and raise a family not just in Northern Virginia but the entire country.” We have an active and engaged community of citizens who work […]

    Read more →
  • County Government Top Stories Elected county board, school board members prepare to vote themselves a raise

    Elected county board, school board members prepare to vote themselves a raise

    The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is frequently at odds with the Fairfax County School Board, which relies on the county board for its funding. The schools spend too much, the county board complains. The county pays too little, the school board complains. But on one thing, they both agree: their salaries should be increased. Both the county board and the school board are moving in a stately and steady manner towards giving themselves whopping raises in a year when […]

    Read more →
  • Top Stories Transportation Connolly, Beyer call for “clear and thorough” probe of fatal Metro accident

    Connolly, Beyer call for “clear and thorough” probe of fatal Metro accident

    Congressmen Don Beyer (D-VA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) are calling for a “clear and thorough” investigation of the Metro Yellow Line accident that left at least one person dead and many others ill. “We are heartbroken at the news of today’s events on the Metro line and await a clear and thorough accounting of the events that led to today’s tragedy.  No one should fear for their lives on their commute.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and […]

    Read more →
  • Politics Top Stories House bill would raise Virginia’s minimum wage to $15.15

    House bill would raise Virginia’s minimum wage to $15.15

    As the 2015 legislative session is gearing up to begin, Delegate Marcus B. Simon (D-53rd) is taking on income inequality by targeting it at the source. One of his top priorities this session is bill HB 1512, legislation he introduced to raise the minimum wage in the Commonwealth to $15.15 per hour. Many residents of the Commonwealth work full time jobs yet still struggle to get by in the high-cost region. The Federal minimum wage has not been indexed to keep […]

    Read more →
  • Centreville Police & Crime Reston Top Stories Rash of bank robberies in Fairfax County & D.C.

    Rash of bank robberies in Fairfax County & D.C.

    Fairfax County Police and the FBI report a rash of bank robberies in recent weeks and are investigating whether at least some of the incidents are related. In the most recent incident, a man brandishing a gun attempted to enter the TD Bank at 6200 Multiplex Drive in Centreville last Tuesday. Bank employees saw a man dressed in dark pants and jacket attempt to enter the bank lobby, which was closed. The man yelled for employees to open the door and […]

    Read more →
  • Fire & Rescue Loudoun Top Stories Leesburg man missing in Mexico; funds being raised for rescue effort

    Leesburg man missing in Mexico; funds being raised for rescue effort

    UPDATE: Mexican authorities located the body of Hari Simran Singh Khalsa at the bottom of a narrow ravine Friday. — A Leesburg man, Hari Simran Singh Khalsa, 25, is reported missing in the Tepozteco Mountains in central Mexico, where he took time off from a yoga retreat to go on a hike Tuesday afternoon. Khalsa told his wife, Ad Purkh Kaur, also known as Emily Smith, that he was going for a short hike. He later sent her a selfie taken […]

    Read more →