News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

As the Silver Line Turns: Name-Calling, Slanted Surveys, and a Glimpse of Loudoun's Future

As the prevarication over Phase 2 of Metro's Silver Line continues, the unabashed stupid careful consideration of relevant issues has spread from Loudoun's partisan, anti-labor obsessed Board of Supervisors to partisan, anti-labor obsessed Virginia lawmakers. Show them how it's done in the big leagues, Virginia lawmakers!

Virginia House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville) responded to the state’s Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton calling legislators and their staff “idiots” in a debate over funds on Metro’s new Silver Line.

In a news release Friday, Toscano said... the “rhetoric used by members of the House of Delegates and now the Governor’s administration has crossed the line. Our state, once prized for its ability to be reasonable and measured in our debate, continues to have its reputation tarnished.”
Nonsense! Shooting down what may be one of the last major federally funded public works projects over a right-wing talking point won't tarnish Virginia's reputation. It's about par for the course.

Haters critics are pointing to a survey that shows most Virginians aren't in favor of the Silver Line, though in reality those who oppose it tend to live in places where they don't cotton to frivolous modern necessities such as "mass transit" or "color TV."
In the Washington suburbs, including Fairfax and Arlington counties and Alexandria, 67 percent say the project is important, with 41 percent calling it extremely important. But in the remaining parts of the state it’s 25 percent.
Have you been south of Dumfries lately? Unleaded gasoline would only get a 25 percent favorable rating in most of the state.

In case you aren't already slamming your head into your desk over all the stupid, please to be enjoying this Action McNews Team video of the statesmen-like Loudoun Board of Supervisors stone cold talking about the Silver Line:

Here's a more recent genius comment from one of the Loudoun supervisors:
Supervisor Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) focused on the Lesser report finding that the county would grow regardless of Metro.

“You can have the growth with Metro or without,” he said, repeating Bogarad’s assertion.
Quite right. As a public service, here's what that growth would look like in both cases. First, with Metro:


Now, without:

Loudoun 2020.jpeg

Your call, Loudoun.

Meanwhile, with all the gas being expelled over this project, very little is still being said about the real issue, which is how many thousands of quarters Toll Road drivers will need to pay for the project even if it does go forward. As Reston Citizens Association President Colin Mills points out:
But in all the back and forth about PLAs and unions and MWAA's expenses and in all the political posturing, one thing seems to be getting ignored: the fact that the majority of Phase 2's costs are still projected to fall on the Toll Road users.

Ultimately, the debate over the PLA is not that important. It matters to construction unions and anti-union activists, but whether or not a PLA is imposed, it will not spell the success or failure of the project. While RCA hopes that Loudoun County will remain committed to the project and that Virginia will contribute the $150 million it has promised, we have not taken a position on the PLA issue.

Similarly, while the DOT's audit of MWAA will hopefully prompt the authority to clean up some of its hazier practices, unclear ethics policies and reimbursed trips are not going to break Phase 2. RCA also has taken no position on the DOT audit, apart from the section relating to CDM Smith's report.

Where we have taken a position, and where we are focusing our energy, is on the huge projected rise in tolls on the Toll Road, and what that means for the Silver Line project as a whole and for the traffic situation in and around Reston. The PLAs may mean a lot to some elected officials, but the tolls are what matter most to Reston citizens.

Reston 20/20 recently released a white paper demonstrating how the projected rise in tolls would affect Reston and the Silver Line. They ran the numbers, and found that if the tolls rise as CDM Smith forecasts, regular users of the Toll Road will see nearly half of their anticipated real income gains over the next 40 years wiped out by the tolls. Almost half! The toll cost for regular commuters will ultimately amount to over $8,000 a year, which is a pretty hefty chunk of change.
We love the name of the aforementioned white paper, which calls the soon-to-be-exorbitant Toll Road the "Highway of the One Percent." But nothing to see here folks! Move along, and keep an eye out for those pesky union goons!

In a call for bipartisan calm, we share this once more:

Keep clapping, kids, or we'll be forced to post this a third time!

Update: Commenter Mean Daddy D may have just won the Internet.


  1. I believe it's always important to view anything about Loudoun County through a historic lens...

    ...usually a pre-Civil War lens will suffice...

    ...but in the case of the Silver Line I think it would be better use a geologic time chart... of Loudoun County reside in the Culpepper Basin, which as the USGS in Reston will tell you is a so-called 'failed rift valley', which means that tens upon tens upon tens of millions of years ago (or 3,000 years ago if you're a Bible geologist that resides in Loudoun County) as the tectonic plates began to separate, only by fate did the land that was being stretched apart that eventually resulted in the Metro DC area and parts of Africa fail to include that part of Metro DC area known as the Culpepper Basin as part of Africa. It's sorta like pulling a piece of bread apart by opposite sides. The bread will randomly start to tear apart at one place, only to eventually separate at another point. The point where it first started to tear apart, but didn't actually separate, is the failed rift valley, which is what the Culpepper Basin is.

    So, what's the point? Had that portion of Loudoun County that's part of the Culpepper Basin that was being pulled apart at the seams at the time into what eventually resulted in the east coast of the United States and parts of Africa, had Loudoun County been 'pulled' into Africa, so to speak, then the ridonkulous flying jackasses that make up the majority of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors would have been the evolutionary first cousins of the lowest grade of African dung bettle, which is basically what they evolved into anyway on U.S. soil.

    Only by accident of a failed rift valley called the Culpepper Basin are the flying jackasses of Loudoun County not rolling poo balls in the African sun.

    In other words, Fairfax County is being screwed over by the b*$@ that is plate tectonics.

  2. Brilliant, Mean Daddy D, just brilliant. I'm speechless.

  3. Sooo... everyone in NoVa thinks the Silver Line is "important" (whatever the hell THAT means) but local folks don't want to have to pay for it( especially with tolls) preferring for Uncle Sugar or some other mystical government entity to pony up the cash, all the way to Loudoun County? Bwa ha ha ha...
    Hey kids, you want it? Then YOU pay for it! Don't ask other people to float your boats for you. Blame Metro and the Fairfax County Board or Supervisors for their ineptitude in planning this white elephant.

    1. Excuse me, Anon, I have no problem with the people who will USE the line paying for it--that would be Metrorail riders--but WMATA isn't even in the mix.

      The other entities that benefit from rail are your local government--which should see property values & taxes escalate in station areas--and the owners of that property around the station areas who will be able to charge premium rents/prices because of their location, location, location.

      The people who won't/can't benefit from rail are toll road users and, with tolls doubling next year, tripling in five, and increasing 800+% by mid-century, some 40% fewer of them will be on the DTR despite large expected increases in area pop/jobs. It will become "the highway of the one percent." (And those are MWAA's numbers, and tolls will probably go higher)

      So, rather than toll road users paying 55% of the line's total cost ($6B), which will mean $17B over 40 years of financing, RCA's Reston 2020 proposes the counties/MWAA, the station landowners, and the DTR users share the otherwise unfunded cost equally--about 26% each or $1.5B.

      ...and if "Uncle Sugar" or "Uncle RICH-mond" wants to chip in some more, that means everyone else pays less.

    2. Oh, that's just so much horse manure about DTR user's not benefitting from Metro, Terry, and you know it. First, let's state the obvious. More people on the train equates to fewer cars on the road. That sounds to me like a benefit for the selfish slugs in SOVs.

      Second, whether you like to admit it or not, we have to get people out of cars. Most won't give up the convenience of their car until it is no longer convenient to use the car. One way of helping them "see the light" is by raising the cost of using your SOV.

      If the point of Metro is to allow more people to get to more places, we could have accomplished the same thing by getting the MWAA to open the Dulles Access highway to local traffic or adding more lanes to the DTR or by instituting a Bus Rapid Transit system. Any of these options would have allowed people much more flexibility and cost savings than Metro. The key point of Metro is to GET PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR CARS. This is precisely the point of Reston's various self-important organizations' prattling on about Transit Oriented Development,as if the developers actually give a hoot beyond their bottom line.

    3. Here's the scoope, Convict:

      Official estimates indicate few NEW people will use Metrorail. The commuter busers and the people who drive to Vienna will, but less than a quarter of the Metro riders will be new.

      In fact, because the tolls are going up so far and fast, there will be MORE people on local roads.

      There will be fewer on the toll road though, if you want to pay $4.50 next year, $6.50 in 2018, etc, to use it.

      As a result, there will actually be MORE PEOPLE DRIVING, dumb as that sounds.

      Reston 2020 puts the number at 30+K more trips on local roads each day on average next year, 100+K more in 2050 when tolls are at $18.75.

      . . . which is why we've been yelling that the toll road shouldn't be the primary source (55%) for funding Metro.

      That's where it's at.

  4. Hey, Anonymous 1:02, how about how the back water hillbilly portions of Va. using NoVa as their piggy bank? I'd love for the Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, Pr. William County; and Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax city tax dollars to be reinvested in these areas ONLY without going to Richmond or anywhere else in the Commonwealth. Then we'll see who is floating a boat for the state ... and who quickly sinks.

  5. Why doesn't the Airport authority put on a $5 surcharge on every ticket out of Dulles?

  6. Anonymous 10:41, according to, Dulles has 23M passengers (in and outbound combined) per year. $5/ticket would be $115M/year.

  7. So like $3billion over 30 years... sounds like a modest proposal to me.

    Hell the surcharge could be $10 a ticket. Is this even on the table? If not Why the hell not?

    Problem = solved.

  8. Why would Restonians care if the Silver Line makes it to Loudon Co. or not? Even if the belligerently Republican Loudon Board of Supervisors won't buck up, Fairfax will find a way to extend it at least to RTC, if not to the border nearest the airport - although a requirement for parking in the garages should be that only patrons displaying a Fairfax County car-tax decal (or whatever we use now) shall be permitted to park. Sounds like a win/win to me. No astronomic toll increases, no Loudon Co. commuters filling up our garages. Let them SLUG it to work and pay the tolls.

  9. It's time for Metrorail riders to pay a fair share of its operations and replacement costs instead of demanding ever increasing subsidies from Fairfax County taxpayers.

    How about building the rail car maintenance yard at Lake Anne to please the liberal loonies like The Convict?

  10. Restonian, love your visual examples of Loudon growth with or without Metro. So true.


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