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LTE: Wrong for Tolls to Pay for Silver Line

A Purcellville resident makes his case for alternate funding of Metro.

I am against increasing the tolls on the Dulles Toll Road; particularly the plans proposed to use those tolls to finance Metro's Silver Line. It is unfair and appears to be targeted at a particular segment of people who happen to commute daily on the Toll Road or businesses that employ folks in the area. It is also unwise given wages are not keeping pace with increasing costs, especially those folks in low-pay or entry-level type jobs. 

There is no guarantee that any sort of economic growth will sustain the development and maintenance of the planned extension of the Silver Line given business-preferred strategy to outsource jobs to drive down wages. If Metro wants to extend the Silver Line then Metro should pay for it from the revenues they generate from existing sources or expand their other options to finance it. Anyone who cares to look knows it is wrong to expect folks who don't use the existing Metro Lines to finance it. The most we can hope for in terms of accountability for incompetence in proposing these intended plans is to vote out those that were elected to represent their constituency but who look the other way as this is allowed to happen.

D. Siecker
Purcellville, VA

Shawn Flaherty September 26, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I agree. Toll Road users should not be singled out to pay for such a massive project. Certainly, we won't be the only users. Past expansions of the Metro--such as the Orange Line--relied on a region-wide funding plan--in which everyone--including me as a former Vienna resident--shared in the costs. Now, Toll Road users are expected to pay a disproportionate share. If that's the case, I want a refund on my contributions to the Orange Line, so that I can defray my tax burden of paying for the Silver Line.
No Toll Increase September 26, 2012 at 05:40 PM
There are several legislative, judicial, and regulatory paths to stopping MWAA's DTR toll increases. If enough concerned citizens get involved, we can stop this abuse of toll road users. For more information, visit www.NoTOLLincrease.org or https://www.facebook.com/NoTollIncrease
Rob Whitfield September 27, 2012 at 04:38 PM
The MWAA Board is controlled by "inside the beltway" politicians and supporters from DC, Maryland, Arlington County, Alexandria and Falls Church, whose residents will pay only their pro-rata share of the $900 million Phase 1 in federal funds. Absent federal funding for part of the $3+ billion Phase 2 costs, the ITB crowd will pay nothing for Phase 2 capital costs and enjoy Silver Line operating subsidies paid for primarily by Dulles Toll Road users -mostly Loudoun and Fairfax County residents and businesses. Phase 2 has never been shown to be even remotely economically or financially feasible. It is mainly a huge real estate scam led by Tysons Corner and Dulles Corridor landowners, supported by worthless politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, who have refused to ask and obtain answers to basic questions. The Tysons Corner office market vacancy rate and in Fairfax County overall is 16+%. Tom Flynn, Loudoun's Economic Development Department Director, told a Committee for Dulles audience last week that there is more vacant office space in Fairfax County than total office space existing in Loudoun County. A Washington Examiner article today quotes Gerry Gordon, Fairfax County's EDA President: "Nobody's moving; nobody's expanding." http://washingtonexaminer.com/looming-federal-budget-cuts-dampen-local-economy/article/2509140 If sequestration occurs, which given inaction by Congress seems increasingly likely, we may see vacancy rates increase further.
Bob Bruhns September 27, 2012 at 11:11 PM
The burden wouldn't have been so bad, if the cost of Dulles Rail I and II was not 1.5 to 2 times what it should have been. It's too late to bring the Phase I costs down, but people should demand that the price of Phase II not be allowed to be the ridiculous near-double cost that we have been told. The rail tations appear to cost more than two times what they should cost; the parking garages are estimated at two times what they should cost, and the whole job overall is close to two times what it should cost. People should think about this when they think about toll hikes of hundreds of dollars a month, and demand cost control when bids are accepted, and when contracts are executed. Whoever writes the contracts needs to include late delivery and cost overrun penalties, to protect the people of Loudoun and Fairfax Counties. Laying ridiculous excessive costs onto tollpayers is an unworkable response to the long-known lack of federal and state funding. Face it - these costs will eventually be put onto the county taxpayers. I think that this should be done BEFORE the riots, instead of afterward. Taxpayers - you'll be paying for the Silver Line sooner or later - you really should demand that the Phase II prices be kept under control now, while you still can. Wake up, take a look at the ridiculous toll plan, consider where the drivers will go who decide to take the local roads rather than pay those tolls, and consider how that is going to affect you. It's not a good situation.

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