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Fairfax Connector adds bus service to Udvar-Hazy

When Silver Line service begins later this year, the county-run Fairfax Connector will begin offering bus service from the Wiehle-Reston East Station to the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy center in Chantilly.

The new route will also include stops at Reston Town Center, the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride and Washington Dulles International Airport, all of which will have their own rail stations after the second phase of the Silver Line is complete. Buses will run every 20 minutes at most times of day, including Saturday and Sunday.

The regular Fairfax Connector fare is $1.60 with SmarTrip or $1.80 cash.



Fairfax, Arlington select contractor for streetcar project

Arlington and Fairfax counties announced this week that they have selected Parsons Transportation Group to help manage Arlington’s streetcar program, which includes the Columbia Pike streetcar segment that the two counties are jointly building. The Columbia Pike streetcar extends into Fairfax County.

While the project has long had the backing of both county boards, it also has some vocal critics due to the growing cost estimates for the 7.4-mile system. In March, Arlington officials increased the cost estimate to $358 million. Fairfax County’s share is expected to be about $71 million.

“This area was once meant to be served by the Metro system and the streetcar will deliver on this vision of transit-oriented development,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova (D) in a released statement. “The Columbia Pike Streetcar is an enormous revitalization and economic development opportunity for this area of the County.”

The contract with Parsons “will provide critical, specialized expertise” as the counties enter the preliminary engineering phase of the project, Arlington officials said in a news release. The selection of a design firm is expected this fall.

One of Parsons’ tasks will be reviewing the project for possible cost reductions and exploring potential public-private partnerships, said Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette (D).



Express Lanes mark 100 million miles traveled

The operators of the 495 Express Lanes said that, as of last month, customers have now traveled more than 100 million miles on the privately run toll lanes.

More than 1.1 million people have used the 495 Express Lanes at least once since the facility opened in November 2012, but the facility has yet to attract the level of ridership projected prior to construction.

According to data from November 2012 to September 2013, the three most common Express Lanes trips are Interstate 66 to I-495 north, the Springfield Interchange to the Dulles Toll Road, and the Springfield Interchange to I-495 north – the entire length of the Express Lanes.

Operator Fluor-Transurban is also in the middle of constructing Express Lanes on Interstate 95.