Professionals who work in the Reston area generally are supportive of completing the planned second phase of the Dulles rail project, according to a survey by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.
Only 4.1 percent of the about 400 self-selected participants in the online survey said they think the rail line should terminate at Wiehle Avenue in Reston, the terminus of the first phase of the Silver Line.
About 47 percent said they think the entire planned second phase of the project, extending Metrorail service to Ashburn, should be constructed; 32 percent support ending service at Dulles International Airport.
“For us, it is huge,” said Michael Delpierre of the search optimization firm Conversion Pipeline, which has offices on Sunrise Valley Drive. His company serves clients all around the Washington, D.C., area, and Delpierre said rail service will make it easier to get together for face-to-face meetings.
About 46 percent of the survey respondents said they would be “somewhat” or “very likely” to use rail service during their commute.
Jaqueline Hagen, of National Corporate Housing, also said rail service would have a positive effect on her business. She helps international business travelers find extended stay lodging in the area.
“I think there needs to be mass transit at Dulles Airport because of the international business it would bring to the area,” Hagen said.
The chamber’s survey did not ask participants about the expenses associated with the rail project, or whether business leaders are concerned about higher tolls on the Dulles Toll Road. Tolls are the largest funding source for construction of the $3.2 billion second phase.
Some in the community have expressed concerns that high tolls will have a negative impact on businesses in the Dulles corridor and drive more traffic onto non-tolled local roads, such as Route 7.
For their parts, Delpierre and Hagen said they are not concerned about tolls or taxes increasing to fund the rail, because of the potential benefits that they see.
“It’s got to come from somewhere,” Hagen said.
The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce strongly supported a proposal in the Virginia General Assembly to invest a total of $450 million in state dollars to slow the rate of toll increases on the Dulles Toll Road, according to Mark Ingrao, president and CEO of the Reston chamber.
The measure is included in the Senate version of the budget, but not the House of Delegates version. The budget now is in conference committee.
“I am hopeful that things can be worked out,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova (D-At large). “It would help significantly toward buying down tolls on the toll road.”