LTE: Hillsboro Resident Questions Higgins' Stand on Rail

Opinions around the county continue to flow as the Loudoun Board of Supervisors begin rail discussion.

Dear Editor:

The following is a letter I sent to Geary Higgins following last week's Town Hall Meeting held in Lovettsville, VA.  Mr. Higgins says that he needs to look at all the information, he is "very concerned about the capital construction and long term costs associated with joining a system which is governed by unelected boards (MWAA and WMATA) that are controlled by Maryland and the District of Columbia," and "will not support the project if it is to be laid upon the backs of Loudoun's families," but he is still unable to commit to a position of opposing the Loudoun Rail Project.  Now is the time for true leadership in order to protect Loudoun County citizens from endless taxation, instead of political games.  I offer my letter which was addressed to Mr. Higgins for the people of Loudoun County to consider, and I am still waiting to hear that Geary Higgins will publicly, clearly, and vigorously oppose the Loudoun Rail Project.

Mr. Higgins,

I attended tonight's Town Hall Meeting in Lovettsville, and while I do appreciate the fact that you showed up, you did not earn my respect when it comes to the issue of Loudoun County's involvement with METRO.

Your inability to acknowledge how this project is bad for your constituents, and Loudoun County as a whole was disappointing.  The people who you represent need someone willing to have the courage to state an opinion, recognize that this is bad for their future, and to be a leader in rallying support to defeat this measure, instead of someone who will sit on the fence and see which way the wind of public opinion is blowing that day.

I am curious, as you state that you want to look at the information, how much information do you have to see in order to say that this is bad for Loudoun County.  I also wonder, if so many people are stating their support for building the Metro project in response to your email survey, where were they tonight?  If these people  are as passionate about building it as you mentioned tonight, they certainly didn't believe in it enough to get off their couch and leave their home to come support it tonight.  It takes a lot to get me to leave my family and my children in an evening to go out to something like this, but I did tonight because I truly believe this is a horrible idea for Loudoun County.

Sir, please do the right thing, have courage, be a leader, and take a stand as a leader to defeat this horrible idea of Loudoun METRO by publicly stating your opposition and OPT OUT!

Thank you,

Todd Morrison,
Hillsboro, VA

Kelli Grim1 April 18, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Mr. Morrison I agree with you, although my Supervisor is Janet Clarke, there is no one leading right now when it matters most. How much information does one need. Are we going to take this down to the wire, so resident input will be low in June as school lets out and family's begin their vacations. I suggest the public comes out in full force at the May and June BOS meeting, during public comments. And I would also like to see the results (ongoing) of these surveys they are running. But I would also like to see what their powerful developers and major campaign donors have to say. Quite curious to see who the Supervisors will listen to. Since January when they took office, there is not a very good track record for any of them that the residents are number one... Kelli Grim Purcellville resident
bella-alexis April 18, 2012 at 01:24 PM
well I happen to support the rail, as there is no other public transportation here in Ashburn where I live. To answer your statement 'where are they', well I would have come in if I had a way to get there. I cannot drive due to a medical issue, my husband works ALOT to pay for the high rates here in Ashburn. We pay our taxes and there is no way to get around in Ashburn. other than your own two feet or on a bike but Ashburn is Not pedestrian friendly. if Ashburn looked more like Reston Virginia with sidewalks everywhere, buses galore, shopping close by. Then maybe I would be on your side and say we do not need rail. but I'm sorry... we NEED it.
Libby April 18, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I, too, am a rail supporter. I'd much rather pay $5 to get to Reston and whatever the parking fee will be than to pay my daily toll money to the Australians who own the Greenway. Rail is good for Loudoun. There are 1 million new jobs coming to the area, with the laregest percentage of those in Loudoun (which is good with all of that empty office space in LoCo) --- that won't happen without rail. Please, people, don't be short-sighted.
Bob Bruhns April 19, 2012 at 03:10 AM
More BUS. There should be more bus service. Bus will go places besides only that one rail track. Rail at best is plenty expensive, and then THIS rail costs two times what it should. And then people pretend that bus costs even more. They think they can get away with that, because they think people don't know any better.
Janie Oldham April 19, 2012 at 06:43 AM
No one will be able to afford to live in Loudoun because the tolls on the Dulles Toll Road will triple in three years, the metro will take over an hour and half to get down town, plus $8 a trip in addition to parking fees. To pay for all this, our taxes will increase between 10 and 15 cents per thousand, that's hundreds more per year, forever. Because the toll road will be prohibitively expensive, the studies estimate 30,000 more cars will be on Route 7 everyday. Once people realize that it is so expensive to commute from Loudoun, our property values will decrease. This is the first transit project in the history of the US that doesn't qualify for federal funding. It's ALL on the taxpayers in Loudoun. Higher taxes, higher tolls, and higher traffic. Is that really what you want? Because that's what you will get. Tysons Corner has had low occupancy rates for decades, and all without rail. It's proximity to the city that matters, not rail. If don't live with walking distance of the two metro stations, how do you plan on getting to them while avoiding rt 7 and the Greenway?
Janie Oldham April 19, 2012 at 06:47 AM
Ms. Grim, if Mr. Morrison lives in Hillsboro, Mrs. Clarke is also his supervisor. I suggest that you both write to hear and let her know how you feel about this terrible black money pit that is metro phase II. Mr. Higgins certainly got an earful of what his constituents thought at the meeting last week in Lovettsville. 100% of the meeting was opposed to metro. REALLY opposed, and very well informed. These community meetings with the supervisors are an excellent idea. Too often the supervisors don't hear from us, plus they need to be educated too. Please write your supervisors! Early and often!
Steve symsanex April 19, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I am a rail supporter and would have come to the meeting but lacked transportation. walking a minimum of 12 miles is not an I option I am willing to accept.
Janie Oldham April 21, 2012 at 07:42 AM
How will you get to the rail in Ashburn?
Rob Jones April 21, 2012 at 02:08 PM
As a western Loudoun resident who often spends time in Ashburn and commutes into Maryland I could not agree more that Ashburn could use more in the way of sidewalks, bike paths and good bus service. But the Ashburn rail station will only make matters worse for you, as the funding that would improve your local amenities will probably be snapped up by the BOS to pay for Metro. There is no extra money in the budget unless you borrow it. Also, if you can envision the amount of urban development that will be triggered by the rail station, your traffis situation will be infinitely worse, as you are adding thousands of households, with their cars, and you can't predict the amount of traffic that will bleed off of Route 50 and Route 7 as folks actually choose Metro, which would be a good thing except for the fact that they all have to drive to Ashburn first. You could run more commuter buses from Hillsboro, Berryville and Paris, but once people are on the buses, they might as well ride all the way in. Buses move pretty well down the toll road, I watch them every day. Metro stations at Ashburn will only make your property taxes go up, add a killer amount of local traffic, and if you like Reston better, maybe you should consider moving there as an option. If you like Loudoun schools better than Reston's, well, consider what happens when you pull money from the school budget to pay WMATA subsidies. Buses cost $Millions less and will give you what you need from your local government.
Rob Jones April 21, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Kelli Grim1 April 21, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Writing and speaking at the meetings are less than a longshot to get the BOS to listen, all one has to do is take a look at their campaign donations...they did not get elected because a bunch of residents funded their campaigns. My supervisor to a lot of funds from developers and unknown origin pacs that are far removed from our Blue Ridge District. I can assure you I am very involved in, I just understand how the Loudoun Politics works. Follow tooconservative.com or brleader.com?
Janie Oldham April 21, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Mr. Jones, please email your supervisor with your views. I've heard that supervisors are not hearing from those opposed to the metro.
Rob Jones April 21, 2012 at 10:52 PM
I have, and have actually heard back from two of them. If what you say is true, my guess is that the pro-rail interests are well-funded or well-organized in the usual astro-turfing manner. The voices against rail have very specific, researched and thoughtful points. The pro-rail voices are more generalized, lack specificity, and tend to parrot somewhat partisan slogans that fall apart under scrutiny. That being said, governance is all too rarely contaminated by logic or reason.


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