Opponents of the Dulles rail project said the transportation improvement will prove to be no value to Loudoun County at a community forum held by the Loudoun Taxpayers for Accountable Government (TAG) Thursday night.
“We’re trying to approach this as cost versus benefit,” said member of the Loudoun Opt Opt Citizens Group David LaRock. “It’s hard to find bonafide benefits. Using the credible studies, numbers do not justify anything. It just does not qualify as a traffic project at all.”
Panelists included David Dickinson of TAG, Tom Kramer, Loudoun Supervisor Ken Reid, and Rob Martin, a Federal Transit Administration economist.
“Whether tonight’s meeting makes or breaks anything I’m not that good of a forecaster,” Martin said. “I think it’s very, very important to alert people what a terrible project this is for the citizens of Loudoun County. Obviously, it’s a bad project for the people in western Loudoun County. It doesn’t do anything for them. But I think people overlook that it’s a bad project for eastern Loudoun County.”
Martin said there would be increased pressure to allow development in transition zones, a possible decrease in property values, and having to pay extra to employ unions.
“If it doesn’t do any good a penny is too much,” Martin said. “If some good fairy came down and gave us $3 billion I would then argue that that’s a stupid way to spend it. If you want to do something about the traffic problem in Loudoun County then you need to build some roads.”
Supervisor Ken Reid agreed. He said that prior to 2006 he was engaged in opposing the Metro. Since taking a seat on the board, Reid said he decided to take another look at the data.
“It really doesn’t look good for Loudoun County,” Reid said. “If you add up the costs we’re going to be in a hole. We’re fighting a fantasy.”
Reid said cars are becoming more efficient and have better technology. “What new technology are we going to see with Metro?” he asked.
A lot of people don’t realize how much it’s going to cost for those who live in Loudoun County, he said.
“Overwhelmingly people are amazed,” LaRock said. “I don’t want to speak for everybody but people seem to be left with the impression that this really is not a question as to whether or not we should be considering this.”