On the same day a federal judge was dismissing a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, a candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia was calling for MWAA's abolishment.
U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ruled in Alexandria that MWAA has the right to levy tolls without the consent of the Virginia General Assembly under the Constitution's interstate compact provisions.
Meanwhile, at a press conference overlooking the Dulles Toll Road - where tolls are scheduled to skyrocket as high as $15 one way by 2050 to pay for the cost of extending Metrorail to Dulles International Airport - Jamie Radtke, chairwoman of the Federation of Virginia Tea Party Patriots, said Virginia should take over operational control of its two Northern Virginia airports.
MWAA, which was set up by Congress to manage Dulles and Reagan National Airports, is embroiled in controversy over its handling of the Silver Line extension extension of the D.C. Metro, which even U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says must be scaled back by at least $1 billion.
Going him one better, Radtke wants to get rid of MWAA altogether.
Virginia has only minority representation on the 13-member MWAA Board. Despite the recent addition of former congressman Tom Davis, Radtke warned, mismanagement of the Silver Line "has the potential for devastating financial repercussions on Northern Virginia residents and businesses."
"We are now at a point where the costs of Phase I and II of the Dulles Metrorail Project, originally projected in 2003 to cost $3.14 billion, are now estimated to be over $6.5 billion - and construction of Phase II has not even begun." She correctly noted that MWAA is not subject to any disclosure requirements, including the Freedom of Information Act.
"All the negotiating going on right now does not deal with the more fundamental problem, so we'll be right back here again in a few years," Radtke told The Examiner. "The main problem is that there's no transparency and no accountability at MWAA."
Radtke added that MWAA even does a lousy job just managing the airports. "J.D. Powers gives Dulles two out of five stars, and Reagan National gets three out of five stars," she added. "[Thurgood Marshall] Baltimore-Washington International Airport, which is run by the State of Maryland, gets four out of five stars.