News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

As the Silver Line Turns: Common Sense 5, Reactionary, Right-Wing Thinking 4 as LoCo (Barely) Opts in to Phase 2

rcounty-loudoun.jpegAfter months of handwringing, intense pressure from well-funded outside groups, and giant inflatable pigs, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors finally voted to remain in Phase 2 of the Metro Silver Line, ensuring a vital lifeline between the $14 chicken breasts at Wegman's and the rest of the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. Way to go!

The narrow 5-4 vote underscores the divisiveness of the project on the all-Republican board. And like another major decision last week, the swing vote came from an unexpected source:

In the nine-member, all-Republican Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, there were only four sure “yes” votes to fund the Silver Line extension to Loudoun. Five were needed. Supporters of the project were hoping for a ”yes” from an unlikely source, Ken Reid (R-Leesburg), who once actively campaigned against Dulles rail.

And on Tuesday morning, Reid did vote “yes,” contrary to the wishes of many conservatives in Loudoun who felt that it would be too costly, not bring sizable economic benefit to the county and would tie Loudoun to the, er, questionable operations and financial skills of Metro.
It was a big shift, given that Reid was a co-founder of, along with Chris Walker, the developer who built the One Dulles Corridor Building in Reston. And he got a lot of heat from local activists. And as with the labor agreement, well-funded partisan groups also turned on the pressure with statements like this:
A group opposed to Loudoun County’s participation in the extension of Metro’s Silver Line sent the county’s Board of Supervisors a letter warning members that they would be targeted in future election for voting in favor of the project.

Donald Ferguson, a former aide to Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and now executive director for American Tradition Partnership, signed the letter, which does not threaten to sue the county, but points to its success in litigation.

“ATP has one purpose,” Ferguson wrote to supervisors. “To make sure there are consequences for politicians who want to use taxpayers, mom-and-pop business owners and employers as nothing more than punching bags and ATM machines. We can’t be shut up or shut down.”
ATP is also based in Washington, not Leesburg, and could care less about Loudoun County, its traffic, or what future growth will look like there.

So it's nice to see some elected local officials remember that they're not in place to serve national partisan interests. And it's even nicer to know that Wiehle Avenue is no longer doomed to be the gridlocked terminus of the Silver Line.

Speaking of Reston, the RA board issued a statement expressing its support for the decision. Can you spot the slight in this otherwise vanilla statement?


Finally, in a Restonian World Exclusive (tm), we have obtained grainy web cam footage of the conversation in the Loudoun board chambers shortly before the vote. Seems a propos, given the timing:

Hopefully this will be the last time we have to write about LoCo until our next forced excursion to Brambleton, the end.


  1. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonJuly 4, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Got it -- the slight is that the RA can't spell "Loudoun" correctly. Guess they were all asleep during their Advanced Placement Spelling class at South Lakes High.

  2. "And it's even nicer to know that Wiehle Avenue is no longer doomed to be the gridlocked terminus of the Silver Line."

    I couldn't agree more. Having recently driven through that area at rush hour, it's already a mess. I hope there is plan to get traffic in and out of that area when that station opens next year.

  3. Do you really expect this to change Wiehle's fate, Anon? Wiehle will still be gridlocked. It's just a matter of whether Wiehle is more or less gridlocked.


  4. Heavy rail systems like Metro are expensive to build and operate, as we all know, and Metro is already at the limits of its ability to manage, operate and maintain the current system in place at anything remotely resembling efficiency and economy.There will be no more federal subsidies for these heavy rail systems in future decades and misguided federal and states policiee with respect to building so-called high speed rail will be doomed to failure as the true cost of build out and operation of such systems
    become clear. The Silver Line is the new Pig In The Poke, folks. The chamber of commerce types who backed this turkey don't care how much you pay in tolls to support their new toy, they are just glad it isn't them.

  5. Building the Silver Line is one thing. Seeing how Metro will wind up managing to operate it is another.

  6. Agreed and I'll take "less" gridlocked over "more" gridlocked anyday.

  7. I think digging a moat around Loudoun County was the other alternative.


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