City of Alexandria Announces Plan for Enhanced Southwest Access for the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station
For Immediate Release: March 20, 2020
The City of Alexandria and Metro have completed pricing discussions with Metro’s construction contractor for enhanced southwest access to the new Potomac Yard Metrorail Station that can be built with available funding. City staff have recommended the enhanced access option to the members of the Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Group (PYMIG), whose input will then be considered by City Council.
“We appreciate the community’s patience as we navigate the lengthy process necessary to change the station’s construction contract,” said Mayor Justin Wilson, who serves on the Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Group. “We have worked hard to incorporate community feedback while ensuring the best value for taxpayers. We are looking forward to a new station that will make everyone proud.”
The station design approved by City Council in 2018 includes one access point on the east side of the station, and two access points on the west side (a north pavilion and a sloped ramp from East Glebe Road). The new, enhanced option would replace the ramp with a flat, 520-foot bridge, accessible via a pavilion with an elevator and stairs. Both the ramp and the bridge would be covered.
In May 2019, the contractor submitted cost estimates based on three concepts developed by the City and Metro, following the announcement of $50 million in available state and federal funding as part of the effort to recruit Amazon’s HQ2 facilities to National Landing. Although each estimate exceeded that amount, City staff determined that a modified version of the lowest-cost concept could be financially feasible, and the contractor was asked to return a revised estimate. The City and Metro believed the contractor’s new estimate was still higher than necessary and agreed that a competitive procurement process for a new contractor for the southwest access be considered if discussions with the contractor could not yield a justifiable price. The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation provided additional analysis to support this process.
Now that additional discussions have been completed, all agencies agree that the contractor’s newest estimate is fair and reasonable. The proposed bridge and pavilion are priced within the $50 million of funding made available for enhanced southwest access by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Federal Transit Administration. The ramp option would cost approximately $10 million to $15 million less.
On March 20, the City Manager sent a memorandum to PYMIG members with additional information and a recommendation to cancel the March 31 PYMIG meeting to promote social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. In lieu of a meeting, PYMIG members have been asked to gather input from stakeholders on their preferred option. Staff will collect and summarize the input from each member. City Council would then consider the input at its meeting on April 14. Whichever option is approved could be part of the station when it is scheduled to open in 2022.
The new Potomac Yard Metrorail Station, to be built on Metrorail’s Yellow and Blue Lines between the existing Braddock Road and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stations, will provide an extensive range of benefits for Alexandria and the surrounding community, including walkable access to regional transportation systems for neighborhoods in the northeast area of the city. The station is also expected to generate billions of dollars in new private sector investment over the long term and eventually support 26,000 new jobs and 13,000 new residents. The Potomac Yard area represents the most significant redevelopment and tax base growth opportunity for Alexandria, with the potential to achieve the vision for an urban mix of uses near transit.
The $320 million station construction will be paid for with new tax revenue from development in Potomac Yard over the next 40 years, funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, a special tax district in North Potomac Yard, a low-interest loan from the Commonwealth Transportation Board, and significant developer contributions.
For more information about the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station, including the City Manager’s memorandum to PYMIG, visit alexandriava.gov/
For media inquiries, contact Craig Fifer, Director of Communications and Public Information, at craig.fifer@alexandriava.