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Final Stretch on Loudoun’s Metro Vote

As critical deadline nears, opposition pushes against the project; some proposed tax districts are set aside.

With about a week to decide whether to participate in the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors has set one final work session for 5 p.m. Friday, June 29, at the County Government Center in Leesburg to discuss potential ways to pay for it. And late last week, the opposition to the project continued to distribute fliers that say homeowners and businesses “will get buried in debt and taxes.”

The , with a sunset provision.

The fliers left on cars last week join an array of flies left in eastern Loudoun communities in recent weeks. An unidentified group left fliers on cars at a . Fliers were also left in the Dulles District recently, according to Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles).

“What should be troubling is, some individual won’t put their name on the information their handing out, but they instead put the offical county seal and they put Loudoun County transit logos on those,” he said. “This whole thing is fraudulent. It should tell you what the quality of those arguments are.”

LoudounOptOut has campaigned against the project and has driven its Tax Pig vehicle around the county to oppose it.

“I went home last night to find the Tax Pig on my street,” Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) said during last week’s work session, before the latest fliers were distributed. The fliers stated “FINAL Property Tax Increase Notice” at the top and indicated taxes would be going up.

Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) defended the tax pig and agreed with LoudounOptOut’s sentiments.

“In my 13 years, there has never been a more splendid opportunity to spend so much money with so little accountability on the part of the nine people that are making the decision,” he said. “It is the death star of debt and it is the death star of spending. If that pig has more influence than some of us, it’s because that pig worked hard and I salute you tax pig.”

The flier Buona spoke of referenced a tax district that does not appear to be in consideration any longer. During the board’s most recent Metro work session, supervisors signaled their intention to remove the idea of taxing existing residential properties near the stations. The board elected—in reversible straw votes—to remove from consideration two potential tax districts that included all real estate with one- and two-mile concentric circles around the two Metro stations in Ashburn, the one at Dulles Airport and the Route 28 station; the latter two were included because they were within those distances from the county. The concentric circle proposals had been examples presented by county staff off potential districts.

Supervisors also voted—again in a non-binding straw vote—not to use general fund revenue to pay for the project.

An attempt to remove a countywide commercial and industrial tax failed; and a tax district comprised of the county’s eastern planning districts also remains in consideration, after additional votes.

Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) created one district that seemed to appeal the most to those willing to consider a tax district (see picture). It became referred to as the Purple District because of the color of the line used to outline it on a map. The district includes the entire Dulles International Airport property within the county boundaries and commercial properties in an eastern cluster around the planned stations. And while the Purple District excludes existing residential properties, new homes constructed within the district would be taxed. The district would include properties currently within other tax districts.

With the purple district, supervisors are also considering an "inner core district" that is envisioned to benefit the most from rail and therefore pay the highest real estate tax related to rail.

During the board’s business meeting last week, about three dozen people spoke during public input time, all but two of whom spoke about the Metro project. Project supporters have outnumbered opponents in email messages to the board, a recent survey and a previous public input session, but opponents reversed that trend at the input meeting.

In other Metro news, a measure to install a permanent inspector general to keep an eye on the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and its board of directors won the approval a U.S. House of Representatives Committee last week. MWAA was given the task of constructing the Silver Line project and has come under scrutiny because of the practices of some members of the board of directors. However, a review of MWAA’s oversight of phase one of the project produced no significant concerns.

The $2.7 billion phase two of the project would require Loudoun to pay about $268 million toward construction. While Loudoun is only responsible for 4.8 percent of the costs, that 4.8 percent includes phase one, which is estimated to cost $2.9 billion when complete. Loudoun's share for construction, plus ongoing maintenance and operation are estimated to cost the county $11 million to $18 million in annual payments, depending on financing options chosen, until the construction costs have been paid. After that the county would continue to pay a share of operation and maintenance costs annually. The tax districts under consideration are intended to cover those costs.

More information about the project can be found on the county's website. The county website also provides contact information for members of the Loudoun board.

Opinions and coverage of the Metro debate can be found on Ashburn Patch here.

[Correction: The wrong date was initially listed for the board's final work session. The correct date is now listed.]

joe brewer June 25, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Who did the oversite on phase 1, the Inspector General or the MWAA? The Inspector General if I understand correctly cannot be voted on until the end of December. The tolls collected since 2008 have been spent where? If they collected 340 million dollars why isn't that being used to fund the silver line?
BCan June 25, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Mike, Sorry bub, but taxes are a necessary evil. Nothing good would have ever gotten done without them. We are investing in the future; planning with the end in mind. These metro stations have been planned for years and Years and YEARS, and finally we are making progress. You on the other hand have probably just moved here (hence the fact that you live in Ashburn). These metro stations were on the maps years before you ever landed in Ashburn. So, if you don't like it, then it's probably time to pack your bags and move. But don't despair... I'm sure Prince William County would be more than happy to take you in. But seriously though, if you are not going to embrace the coming of Metro then you probably should not be living in this area. Opponents are far outnumbered by those who will actually reap the benefits of Metro. I'm not trying to sound snide, but why did you move here in the first place if you didn't want to deal with the Metro?
CC Mojo June 26, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Nothing but debt? Loudoun has only begun to grow! Between the residential and commercial development that will naturally happen, we not only need infrastructure ASAP in Eastern Loudoun, but also, we need the business that will also naturally follow. MWAA is under tight scrutiny right now, and that's not going to change. I'm confident that any issues they have had in the past will be resolved, especially with Loudoun on board :)
abroderick June 26, 2012 at 03:43 AM
That 80% is holding strong! Guess you can't scare them all off now can you?
Tax Pig June 26, 2012 at 04:10 AM
CC you are clueless dear, walk over to your printer, pull out a blank piece of paper. You are now holding a copy that has exactly the same amount of information that the County fliers contain. NOTHING. That is exactly what they want you and all the others to know. The difference between you and I is that when I know nothing I go looking for information. You have everything you need to form an opinion.
Tax Pig June 26, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Go Mike, It ani't free $600 Million Bonus If Loudoun Opts Out of Metro - Pay $0... Risk 0... http://loudounoptout.blogspot.com/2012/06/600-million-bonus-if-loudoun-opts-out.html
Tax Pig June 26, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Former MWAA member used contacts from paid trip to win no-bid contract http://washingtonexaminer.com/former-mwaa-member-used-contacts-from-paid-trip-to-win-no-bid-contract/article/2500486
CC Mojo June 26, 2012 at 11:05 AM
At least that blank paper isn't trying to deceptively swing people through fake logos and misinformation. Twisted words, bad numbers and scare tactics. You know my opinion. I can spell it out for you if you want, but I may hurt your delicate ego in the process.
Tax Pig June 26, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Could we just call your 80% the Occupy'ers
Tax Pig June 26, 2012 at 07:14 PM
only way to scare them off is to tell them it is not free.
CC Mojo June 26, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Wow, Piggie, can't get a better argument than degrading those with less cash than you? That's a winner.
Kadey Mackenzie June 26, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Well, fiddle sticks, we can't all afford to build big, fancy houses out in the Hamilton area now can we? Give us poor folk a bit more credit...we are well aware of the cost. What irritates you really? The fact that we are willing to pay it? Or the fact that we can look beyond our own noses and consider the greater benefit for all?
The Baconator June 26, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Down to the line and the great majority still wants Metro. No matter what flyers you hand out, what church you campaign at and no matter how many fake facts you throw around, people are not being swayed by your antics Tax Pig. The poles were taken a month ago and again a couple days ago. They show that over 80 percent of people want the Metro. No matter what you do, people know that we need this Metro.
MIke June 26, 2012 at 08:58 PM
If by 'great majority' you mean the few regulars posting on Patch, then I would remind you that a great majority of constituents elected this all conservative body of republican supervisors to represent them, and conservatives, the last time I checked, don't spend money on wasteful projects, and still expect to be representing their constituents. I hope to celebrate my independence from the MWAA, as well as the independence of the United States on July 4th. Vote NO to Metro!
MIke June 26, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Bcan... can you tell me exactly what date I became a resident of Loudoun County? Oh? You can't. Don't assume that as an current Ashburn resident, that I've only recently moved here. I would certainly suggest that if you want metro, perhaps maybe you could move to Fairfax, and enjoy the higher crime, and more taxes that Metro and the MWAA bring. Taxes are not a necessary evil, taxes ARE Evil. We as a nation are spending money we don't have, and we want to do that at a county level? Get real. Additionally, when I inform my neighbors of the potential tax burdens on our homes, and potential tax burdens on our businesses, many that originally thought the metro was a grand idea, now feel that it is a disaster. They are telling their neighbors. The word is getting out that the metro is has many more negatives than positives.
Victoria Glenn June 27, 2012 at 02:55 AM
The more you talk piggie, the more I think you hurt your agenda. Insulting people is never a good idea. Loudoun will lose out huge without the rail, the people know that, the Governor knows that and hopefully the BOS knows that!
BCan June 27, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Mike, I actually recall in one of your previous posts claiming that you moved here in 2003 (which is fairly recently in the timeline of the Metro plans). Plans for the metro to Dulles were conceived when the airport was built, and plans for Metro to Route 772 were conceived in 1996. So I will stick with my previous statement "Why did you move here in the first place?" I find it interesting how you demonize Fairfax County, especially when they have better schools, they have better transportation services (and access to major highways), and they have one of the LOWEST CRIME RATES in the US... they have it ALL. I wouldn't mind moving there some day. But luckily I live in Sterling; the one part of Loudoun County that is comparable on a smaller scale (not to mention right next to Fairfax). Its also worth mentioning that Fairfax county has lower taxes than Loudoun despite all of the county services that they provide. It shows that they are doing something right, and that we are screwing up somewhere. Fairfax County is what Loudoun County should aspire be. Taxes ARE a necessary evil... I suppose that if we didn't have taxes we would drive on dirt roads and not have public schools or public services (like indoor plumbing/sewage among others)... I guess that would work... if you like living in the 18th century, that is. EVERYONE in Loudoun has to chip in to get this project done.
BCan June 27, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Mike, The Baconator is refering to the simple random sample that was performed by WTOP to come up with the statistic that 83% of Northern Virginian's want Metro to Loudoun. I suppose that you are suggesting that a "great majority" of constituents (i.e. your neighbors) are opposed to Metro... perhaps because the survey was flawed, or because that MWAA representatives fabricated a survey and provided the data to WTOP. Oh Mike, you and your antics. Have a nice Day =)
Tax Pig June 27, 2012 at 04:25 PM
242 people in Ashburn that did not get the memo :) doooh! http://www.change.org/petitions/loudoun-county-board-of-supervisors-oppose-the-creation-of-a-special-metrorail-tax-district
The Baconator June 28, 2012 at 01:52 AM
242 people out of Ashburn's many thousands of residents? That's not really all that Impressive. Stop hanging out at the retirement communities and tricking old people to sign your pretty piece of paper with your shiny pen. The Majority of us all want the Metro, sorry that bothers some of you so bad but the Metro is a comin...........
Chris Lopresti June 28, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Tax Pig, you've been telling us it's not free. The numbers have stayed strong. Don't be bitter because they're not afraid.
Chris Lopresti June 28, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Thank you Opt-outers for making me smile with your silly conspiracies every day.
Melvin Summers June 28, 2012 at 02:13 PM
The Metro has been needed in Loudoun for at least ten years. It's time we got good public transportation and got some cars off our roads. Sick of sitting in traffic every day and the Metro is the first step towards our cure. Yes to Metro
Bob Bruhns June 28, 2012 at 07:29 PM
No, a dedicated-road bus system is the first answer - then replace it bit by bit with rail when the business and population grows. Your favored Loudoun Rail plan, with its premature rail at near double price, is not the way to go. If it wasn't excessively expensive, our leaders would not be hiding the real costs such as the paydown of the road tolls, the interest on all of this financing, and the $13 Billion of deferred maintenance from WMATA. There will be surprise after surprise for years, and from some of the comments "Oh, Huntington is not on the east side of Fairfax County" (uh, yes it is), and "We need this subway" (uh, it's not a subway - west of Tysons, it's all above ground), I suspect that several peope who are calling for this rail project don't even live around here to use it or pay for it.
Victoria Glenn June 29, 2012 at 01:59 AM
And i suspect Bob that several people around here calling for the opt-out don't even live round here to use it or pay for it. This is a long overdue project, that will benefit so many. Yes to Metro!!
abroderick July 01, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Bob, I just want you to know that I have been reading some of your posts and you have inspired me to use outdated phrases to promote the Metro. You just make it look like so much fun! The Metro would be the Bee's knees! Don't listen to the poppycock people are trying to spread. Bob, who do you think you are, Clark Gable? Now if you excuse me, I'm going to go talk to a man about a cow. Boondoggle.
Bob Bruhns July 01, 2012 at 09:19 AM
Take a good look at the arguments for this overpriced, premature rail extension. There really aren't any good arguments for paying two times what this thing should cost, and mortgaging generations of decsendants to pay for it. Almost all there really is, is motivation to push for it, by people who will collect that overpayment, and by people who will hit the jackpot with properties really close to the proposed rail stations over on the east side of the county, and by a few people who (for the time being) have jobs near stops on the Metro line. Of course, it would have worked just as well for them to have BUS in the rail right of way, given that the vast majority will have to take a bus to get to and from the rail stations anyway. Pro-rail people have no argument for rail over Bus Rural Transit, other than a raving Supervisor wailing "Bus just won't cut it." Hmm, and that was the same supervisor who said "MWAA is causing this project to derail. The numbers aren’t adding up and when the numbers don’t add up, you can’t continue making decisions that are costing the project more and more.” And now, although the numbers still don't add up, but he is pushing for the project. Flip, flop. But that's nothing new, he flip flopped about the cost of the job in 2011. Oh, it was too high, and then FTA came in 2011 and dumped three parking garages on the county, for the sole purpose of hiding their costs - and then he was happy! Such is the pro-Metro logic.
The Baconator July 01, 2012 at 01:45 PM
This area needs more then buses Bob and thats what the Opt inners know. Plus bob for all your love of busses, Build the Metro, and the Metro will bring better buses. You can sit there when the buses come bob and know that you have Metro to thank for them being there. Train and bus working together for a common goal, cleaning up our traffic mess. The train can't do it alone and either can buses Bob, this is the 21st century and we deserve both forms of public transportation to escape our traffic nightmare.
Victoria Glenn July 02, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Again Bob, the only person I see hollering about overpricing is you, you and your own conspiracy theory. Premature? This project has been in the works since before I was born, hardly too soon, more like long overdue! YES TO METRO!!
joe brewer July 03, 2012 at 11:59 AM
[Editor’s note: As currently proposed, Leesburg residents and businesses would not be part of the Metro tax districts. Although, if the proposed districts do not draw the expected revenue, or costs rise, the county could consider another revenue source, including general tax dollars.]

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