News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, May 3, 2012

From the Action McNews Team: Once More Into the Metro Woodshed

Some sweet aerial shots of partially constructed Silver Line tracks from the Action McNews Team Chopper can mean only one thing: Exciting play by play coverage of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood taking Fairfax and Loudoun county leaders, the airport authority and Virginia officials into the woodshed to try to save Phase 2 of the Metro Silver Line extension!

Was there a complex discussion of funding formulas, the economic imperative driving the project, and the fact that Toll Road drivers will have to start bringing sockfuls of quarters with them just to get to Tysons? Haha, no, it was all about trying to get Loudoun County to commit to its $200 million share of the project, which is being held up by anti-union rhetoric -- which is exactly what a county's board of supervisors gets elected to worry about.

As our BFFs at Reston2020 point out:

What was apparently not a topic is the 75% burden for Phase 2 construction costs that will be absorbed by Dulles Toll Road users in the current "funding partners" agreement, the most inequitable and unfair aspect of the current spending plan. That puts $17 billion in rail financing and toll road O&M costs over four decades (& probably longer) on the 100K-200K users of the toll road, and especially those who use the toll road to commute. That multi-billion dollar estimate apparently does not include needed capital investments (such as electronic tolling).

With tolls set to double next year and triple within six years according to MWAA's estimates (others put the numbers higher), the agreement among MWAA, Loudoun, & Fairfax is not only unfair and inequitable, it is likely to stifle the very economic growth that Metrorail is supposed to stimulate.
Nothing to see here, kids -- move along. But keep clapping while you do!


  1. It might help move Phase 2 along if Ray LaHood didn't look, dress and sound so much like Tony Soprano's criminal defense attorney.

  2. From where I'm sitting, it looks like 100k-200k commuters now have 17,000,000,000 reasons to change their commuting patterns.

  3. The Java Master's Union RepMay 3, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    The Chamber of Commerce types and Republicans in Loudoun County are reflexsively opposed to collective bargaining, union workforces, and union labor deals in any form, and in virtually any context. Let the Metro stop right where it is then. We don't need them, either.

  4. Yes, Convict, it's social engineering. What will be the long term consequences to business in the area? To property values?

    People need to get to work and there is no mass transit to get them there. Most people will not be able to get to work on the Silver Line.

    So you think, Convict, that everyone who depends on the DTR should leave Northern Virginia? Again, what are the long term consequences?

  5. Terminating Metro in Reston will be a parking nightmare. Whatever they build will be full by 7:30, as is parking at Vienna today.

    So Loudouner's will pay Greenway, Toll Road, Metro Parking in Reston, and Metro fare just to get to DC? What's that gonna' be 30-40 bucks a day?

    I would use Metro to get into DC for plays and museums. Or to get to DCA to go diving. But me recent history with Metro off rush hour is 0-for-5. It always breaks down, or is hosed by track maintenance.

    So what good is the silver line gonna' do?

  6. I'm sure that once the Silver line opens, that my property values will take a significant bump up, so I'm not worried there. In fact, I'm more concerned about the property tax hit that I'm going to take when the bump occurs than I am about the lack of a bump caused by high tolls or no Phase II to LoCo.

    Second, business in Reston was fine before the Silver line and fine during its construction. There's not much reason to believe that business won't be just fine without that extension to LoCo, or even if tolls go up significantly because of Phase II construction. Sure, some people will probably not come to Reston because of the cost and some businesses may leave. I'm fine with that because there are already too many people in the area.

    Third, there was a certain young lad who could get to work using bus between Reston and his job in Tyson's but refused to because it would take him almost three times as long as driving. When I pointed out to him than my schlep to DC everyday was longer (time and distance) and cost more than his theoretical bus ride to Tyson's, he poo-poo'ed the notion of using mass transit because he couldn't understand why he should have to pay so much and take such a long time to cover such a short distance. In short, it was his choice to continue to drive.

    There are plenty of choices out there, 7:52. It may not be the most convenient choice for you, but the choice is yours to make, and the consequences of that choice are yours to bear.

  7. Scooby, what kind of diving do you do at DCA?


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