LTE: Ashburn Resident Questions Rail Project
Writer ponders whether county services will be lost in exchange for Metro commitments.
The Dulles Rail Project just becomes more absurd every day. As more analysis and reports come back showing the same things, the train provides no appreciable decrease in traffic; the train provides no substantial increase in property value; the train never offers a sustainable economic growth model. Here’s a hint: nothing that costs $4.5 billion can ever pay for itself. Where will the money come from? More debt. National debt, state debt, and county dept. Loudoun already owes a billion dollars. And as debt service threatens to overtake our county budget, the unstoppable train threatens to add $111 million dollars to the budget every year in overhead costs. That’s right, not only does this behemoth not ever pay for the capital costs, it doesn’t pay for itself on a yearly basis.
Maybe we have extra money floating around our budget, let’s see … We could cut 11 schools from the budget, or maybe we could get rid of the entire sheriff’s department, and parks and recreation. We could eliminate all of the school administration (maybe there is an upside to this). Vital county services or we can have a train. The only other alternative is another 10 percent tax increase from a conservative board of supervisors that was soundly elected because Loudoun taxes are too high to begin with.
[Editor's note: Loudoun's share of the construction costs—about $5.4 billion for both phases—is currently estimated at about $260 million, while operation and maintenance costs are estimated at $20-$30 million annually.]