October 12, 2015
On October 5, the US Supreme Court declined to review a ruling upholding the validity of tolls charged by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) to motorists who use the Dulles Toll Road. Toll Road revenues provide a significant portion of the $5.7 billion cost of constructing the Silver Line extension of Metrorail to Washington Dulles International Airport — one of the largest public infrastructure projects in the United States.
By denying certiorari, the Supreme Court left undisturbed a January 2014 decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirming the dismissal of a class action lawsuit brought by Dulles Toll Road users. Rejecting the class plaintiffs’ argument that the tolls amounted to an unconstitutional tax, the Fourth Circuit held that the tolls were valid user fees for passage on the Toll Road. That lawsuit was the last of several actions filed since 2007 attacking the Toll Road user fees.
The Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari puts an end to more than eight of years of litigation over the Toll Road fees, leaving a clear path for MWAA to complete the full 23-mile Silver Line Metrorail expansion to Dulles Airport.
The Hunton & Williams team representing MWAA was led by Art Schmalz and Ryan Shores, with assistance from Erin Thompson.