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