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Officials Worry Rail Won't Get To Loudoun

Chamber's virtual tour shows Metro to Dulles, but Silver Line is in real danger of getting off track.

Loudoun County Chairman Scott York says he has spent "the better part of 20 years" bringing rail to Dulles.

But with and the York says "we are down to the final minutes."

York was at Tuesday's Virtual Rail-ty Tour presented by the. The event, at the gave chamber members and other business leaders a look at how Metro's Silver Line will impact Dulles Corridor development.

And while the hosts conducted a "virtual tour" of the Silver Line from Tysons to Loudoun County, there is real fear costs may doom Phase 2, which will run from Reston's Wiehle Avenue into Loudoun.

Loudoun Supervisors have until to July to decide whether they are going to continue to support the project. The board is slated to contribute $260 million.

Unlike Phase 1, the $5.6-billion Phase 2 has no Federal money. Virginia has pledged $275 million. McDonnell (R) recently said Virginia would give another $150 million. He initially said he would offer another $300 million, but backed down from that amount,

"This is the great debate going on at the state level in the Commonwealth of Virginia," York said. "Quite frankly, I think the Commonwealth should put $1 billion into this project."

Without additional money from Virginia, a large part of the cost may be borne by Dulles Toll Road users. 

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said yesterday that public-private partnerships — like the one at Reston's Wiehle Station, where Comstock and the county are teaming up to build a 2,300-space parking garage — are the key to getting the rail project completed.

"Rail is an economic asset to the region, the commonwealth, the corridor and the county," she said. "I believe the vision and commitment is still there, even if it is a struggle."

Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, says having rail service is essential to the growth and continued economic outlook of Western Fairfax County.

"Tysons and Dulles/Reston/Herndon are in the top 20 in office space and ability to grow," he said. "Tech workers want to live where other young people live, but they want to work in Tysons and Reston. The ability to attract that work force is critical."

Gordon also says the fact Dulles International Airport and Washington, D.C., are not connected by rail service has been a challenge as Washington tries to compete as a "major league city."

"You need major league assets," he said. "You need to get rail to the airport and beyond."

LAviaVA April 18, 2012 at 12:45 PM
These proponents seem to be ignoring the recent report given to Loudoun County by a firm they specifically hired to do analysis to prove it was worth doing. Instead they say that the economic impact pormised by politicians and the chamber has not been proven: "Nonetheless, [this firm] has not found any credible evidence to indicate that the extension of rail transit brings new development to an entire region" http://www.loudoun.gov/dullesrail Hmmmm If you hire someone to prove how great it's going to be and they say otherwise, suddenly that report is BURIED and IGNORED. Wonder why that is? Maybe someone needs to dig into financials of the politicians suppporting this project despite so much evidence that it will actually harm the very constituents that elected them.
Bob Bruhns April 18, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Maybe it's time to review the unnecessary three-mile loop of elevated rail, and the elevated rail station, a quarter mile from the Dulles air terminal. And MAYBE, just MAYBE, it's time to get the price of Dulles Rail Phase II down to earth. Maybe it's time to find out why Dulles Rail Phase II costs two times what it should, and fix that. Maybe it's time to find out why the MWAA toll revenue forecasts are bogus, and fix that. Maybe it's time to arrange a business tax district around the rail stations in Loudoun County, like Fairfax County has had for years now. That was discussed two years ago, but it was conveniently forgotten. Somebody seems to think that Loudoun County people out in the south, central and west parts of the county, benefit the same as the businesses and landowners at the rail stations. And why is the financial audit of Dulles Rail Phase II still something that our leaders - of both parties - and our news media, carefully ignore? Do a web search on 'Audit Initiated of Phase 2 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project' and you can see it on the DOT.GOV website. This audit has been going on for weeks now - why is it being covered up?
Bob Bruhns April 18, 2012 at 01:01 PM
PS - also, the $5.6 billion figure is probably for all of the Dulles Rail project - Phases I and II, put together. The figures for Dulles Rail Phase II that are usually advertised are a few hundred million low, because the Rt 28 station and the Phase II parking garages really didn't just go away, as our 'leaders' pretend, when they were dumped onto Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. The actual price we are being handed is about $3.2 billion, before financing costs.
Bob Bruhns April 18, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Thank you, LAviaLA. This report is very interesting. http://www.loudoun.gov/dullesrail Among other things, This report says that the benefit of such a rail extension is mainly right around the stations - not so much in the entire region - which is not a really big surprise, is it. This means that there should be a rail tax district around the stations, so that the tax paid is proportional to the benefit received. But Loudoun County does not have such a tax district, and it seems to have no interest in creating one. Perhaps the people of the west, south and central areas Loudoun County will have something to say about that.
David A. LaRock April 18, 2012 at 04:38 PM
The people who will be shackled with paying for this Metro Madness are plenty worried.

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