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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

900 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219



For media inquiries only, contact:  
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
Phone: (804)786-5874 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

VIRGINIA AND WASHINGTON, D.C. DEFEND DULLES RAIL PROJECT AND THE AIRPORTS AUTHORITY BEFORE THE U.S. SUPREME COURT

RICHMOND (November 18, 2014)--The Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia have joined forces to defend the Dulles rail project and the constitutionality of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) in a case in the United States Supreme Court. MWAA, created by Virginia and the District in 1985 through a congressionally-approved interstate compact, is responsible for operating and maintaining Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport. MWAA is also responsible for extending Metrorail to Dulles Airport and into Loudoun County under a 2006 agreement with Virginia that authorizes using revenues from the Dulles Toll Road to help finance construction.

 

"Although the plaintiffs' case has little merit, the Dulles rail project and MWAA are too important to the future of Northern Virginia to leave anything to chance," said Attorney General Herring. "I've worked on Dulles rail at the state and local level for nearly fifteen years, and I'm pleased that the District has partnered with us to protect this important enterprise."

 

"The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is gratified that the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia are supporting our position in this case," said Frank M. Conner III, Chairman of the Airports Authority Board of Directors.  "Like Virginia and the District, the Airports Authority hopes to obtain a favorable disposition of this case, and thereby be able to continue our contributions - through the construction of the Metrorail Silver Line and the operation of Reagan National and Dulles International airports - to the economy and quality of life in Northern Virginia and the National Capital Region."

 

The case, Corr v. MWAA, is the third legal challenge since 2006 that seeks to block the Dulles rail project. Similar challenges were rejected by the Richmond Circuit Court in 2008, and by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 2011.

 

The plaintiffs in Corr now claim in the U.S. Supreme Court that the MWAA Compact itself is unconstitutional on the theory that the President does not have the authority to appoint and remove a majority of MWAA's board members. Virginia and the District have intervened to defend their compact, pointing out that MWAA is an interstate-compact entity that they created, not an agency of the federal government whose members must be controlled by the President. Virginia and the District point out that if the Constitution required the President to control a majority of the members of an interstate-compact agency, few states would ever sign an interstate compact.

 

The plaintiffs' claims were rejected by the district court in 2011, and the plaintiffs were unsuccessful in their appeals to the Federal Circuit and the Fourth Circuit. Virginia and the District are moving to intervene in the case and requesting that the Supreme Court deny the plaintiffs' petition for writ of certiorari and bring an end to eight years of fractious litigation.

 

 

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