Saturday, December 31, 2011

“Good bye $150 million dollars”, “Hello to $17 tolls”

Governor McDonnell, on the Friday before New Years weekend, signed off on Dulles Rail, making it final, unless the General Assembly decides not to play along.

"Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) approved a deal Friday to help pay for the $2.8 billion second phase of the Dulles Metrorail line..." 
Why the RINO move?
Historians will be hard put to explain why politicians in the 21st century wanted to pour so much money into mostly 19th century rail technology that, in urban areas, operates at 25 mph at best.
...hard put unless the historians look at what ulterior motives exist. Virginians ought to be asking how Tysons and Dulles Corridor landowners have acquired so much influence with Governor McDonnell and other local politicians.
Recently elected Republican governors around the country have blown the whistle on wasteful passenger rail projects.
Will Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell join them, or will he let the Dulles Rail train wreck run over his conservative credentials?

This Dulles Rail scheme is not a complicated one. But will it can have a happy ending in spite of all the effort to ensure this "Doomed to Fail" project goes through? 
Dulles Rail is worse than a complete waste of money. It is a financial boondoggle of higher taxes, soaring tolls and worsening traffic...a payoff to union bosses, influential donors and rich developers. The good news is, it’s not too late for Fairfax, Loudoun and Virginia to say, “Opt Out” and save billions.
Bob McDonnell should liberate the Dulles corridor from the schemes of Tysons Corner property owners who have already been rewarded with huge profit windfalls. Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton and Governor McDonnell bent over backwards and did triple somersaults to keep the tolls for the new Portsmouth Tunnel, now being built, below $2.  Contrast that to the $17 tolls that will force Toll Road users back onto overcrowded roads  along the Dulles Corridor.
Governor McDonnell should rescind the unconstitutional transfer of the Dulles Toll Road to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and revoke its unauthorized implicit taxing authority. It would be an easy decision.
If Metrorail riders want Dulles Rail, let them pay the majority of its capital and operating costs at the fare box. If developers want rail and the increased development potential that comes with it, let them pay.

How bad is this project?
Consider the key findings of WMAA’s 2004 report to USDOT:
§  By the project’s completion in 2025, traffic volumes on the ten highway links in the corridor would be reduced by only 1.5 percent compared to levels that would occur without the extension.
§  This negligible gain in traffic relief would be erased by 2027, given projected traffic growth rates. In effect, an estimated $6 billion (in current dollars) would be spent for two years of trivial traffic relief.
To put this in perspective, the Heritage Foundation estimated that the cost per new rider attracted from a car (daily rider annualized) exceeds $15,000. That is enough to lease each new Dulles rail transit rider two BMW 328i convertibles for life and still return a few thousand dollars back to the taxpayer. By this measure, the Dulles extension would be one of the most expensive new transit projects ever conceived.
The Dulles Metrorail extension will incur $22 billion in life cycle costs for planning, construction, financing and operation during the next 40 years. This amount is similar to the most recent cost estimates for Boston's infamous "Big Dig."
How these mega-projects are sold to trusting people is an outrage. Two New Studies show a pattern of bias against transportation modes such as buses and a pattern of distorting rail budgets and projections to sell rail to the public.
And the PLA scheme, “what a doozie.” You would think the idea of asking Virginia taxpayers and commuters to pay for jobs that are likely to be handed over to out-of-state union shops, would outrage Governor McDonnell who still promotes the importance of jobs as he did throughout his campaign. Bob McDonnell just isn’t talking about how the PLA will add hundreds of millions to the overall price tag of this project, money that would be picked from the pockets of commuters and taxpayers.
In this same Washington Post article Scott York,  Republican Chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is quoted as saying,
…the governor had “every right to force the issue” on the project’s labor agreement…”
Rest assured that Loudoun County will not be sold out on the PLA issue, because Back in May 2011, York had this to say about ther PLA,
“I’m not going to be in position of telling those folks from Loudoun County … that they have to have union labor,”
Chairman Scott York and Governor McDonnell have a responsibility to block the move to employ a  PLA which diverts Virginia money into a Stimulus Program for Maryland Unions, or better yet, please block the whole Phase 2.
David LaRock
Hamilton Virginia

Monday, December 26, 2011

Getting Virginia moving (forward) again - not from Governor Bob McDonnell

Happy New Year to you, Governor McDonnell, and best of luck on your future endeavors. Here is an inspirational quote that brought you to mind.
"I would rather the man who presents something for my consideration subject me to a zephyr of truth and a gentle breeze of responsibility rather than blow me down with a curtain of hot wind."  Grover Cleveland
Dear Governor McDonnell,
I received your “Getting Virginia moving again” email and see it is full of great ideas, “Way to go.” As your time allows, help me understand a few things which I find difficult to square with your ideas for “Getting Virginia moving again.”
This clear statement from your email stood out as I read it,

“..we have been hard at work putting this new money to use efficiently and effectively in every region of the state...” 

Will this be the vision for next year as well? I wonder because I did not see any mention of the Dulles Rail mega-project that is going on near my home in Loudoun County. Some local folks say this will be the “economic engine” that powers Loudoun's future.  Your email referenced other projects that would “help spur critical economic development and job creation in some of the areas hardest hit by the economic recession.” Given that Rail to Dulles and Loudoun is the biggest transportation project in the history of the Commonwealth, it seems like it ought to have a spot on your short list  and maybe qualify for a lot more than the $150M you have committed. What’s up with this?

Another concern I have is with a rumor that is circulating that says the Commonwealth caved on its position in regard to the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) and that the PLA is really a payment on an IOU to unions that would raise the price of the rail project by hundreds of millions. If this pay-off is in there by any name, it would be paid for with a check written on the accounts of your constituents who use the Dulles Toll Road and pay state and local taxes. I’m coming to you, Governor, because I remember from your campaign, that you know how important jobs are to Virginia's economic recovery; Right?
Sorry to talk about rumors so much, but here is another one going around that you should know about. It appears to have been started by The Federal Transit Administration who rejected funding Dulles Rail Phase 2 previously due to low forecast ridership. They said the rail project service area has less than half the population density stipulated by Federal and State government standards to meet minimum economically viable heavy rail ridership demand. Did this slip past you Governor?
Also, may I be so bold as to suggest you address another issue to put us all at ease? There seems to be a growing concern that VDOT has inadequate money to finance repairs to existing roads, and very little to pay for road expansion.  VDOT wants counties and cities to finance repairs on secondary roads. Congested roads in Virginia are not being budgeted for expansion. A subsidy for Phase 2 of the Dulles Rail removes more money for maintenance and road expansions. We have more than enough money, don’t we sir?
As I’m sure you know, some are saying Dulles Rail is our own local “Big Dig.” I came across this great video and this article  that I think you ought to see. Massachusetts apparently got sucked into a big project and it is a doozie. I understand that their Big Dig has put a crushing weight on the financial condition of the state of Massachusetts.  I am very concerned that if a $22B project can crush a state financially, what will it do to our local economy? Our local cost burden is about 77% of a less-than-half-done-project that has a price tag north of $7B (capital costs only) plus many times that when one looks a interest and overhead. Am I right that you would not buy into a project that has a high probability of bankrupting our local community?
Here’s what happened when leadership lost sight of reality in Massachusetts:
Boston Globe article: Cost spirals to $22b; crushing debt side tracks other work, pushes agency toward insolvency

"The Big Dig saddled us with costs we can't afford," said Bernard Cohen, secretary of transportation. "We are grappling with that legacy now. There are no easy answers."

Contrary to the popular belief that this was a project heavily subsidized by the federal government, 73 percent of construction costs were paid by Massachusetts drivers and taxpayers.

Big Dig payments have already sucked maintenance and repair money away from deteriorating roads and bridges across the state, forcing the state to float more highway bonds and to go even deeper into the hole.

Among other signs of financial trouble: The state is paying almost 80 percent of its highway workers with borrowed money; the crushing costs of debt have pushed the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which manages the Big Dig, to the brink of insolvency; and Massachusetts spends a higher percentage of its highway budget on debt than any other state.
Across the state, commuters are suffering daily for the massive shortfalls that have led to closings and stalled projects.
"The Big Dig drained funding away," Cohen said. "I can't tell you exactly how much, but it's been in the billions of dollars."
In closing Governor McDonnell, I trust you will address all these concerns and make farsighted decisions on Dulles Rail and other spending. I know this because your email also said,
“The condition of the Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure is fundamentally linked to the strength of our economy and future economic growth, opportunity and prosperity  ... we will continue conceiving and implementing common-sense solutions  to ease traffic congestion, strengthen our economy, and get more of our fellow Virginians back to work.”
Happy New Year Governor,
David LaRock
Hamilton, Virginia
PS-  Delegate Bob Marshall and Senator–elect Dick Black seem to think that it is not wise to entrust $150 million dollars of Virginia money to MWAA unless they allow open audit and have FIOA access to their books, what do you think?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Fairfax already made its mistake, maybe Loudoun can be stopped"...Ken Cuccinelli

Pictured below are representatives of Dulles Gateway Associates, West Dulles Properties and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, waiting patiently.

Leesburg Today apparently asked some of the big playas in this Dulles Rail and Eastern Loudoun development  scheme for some insights on what they are hoping for. It is a pretty long and boring article, but if you read between the lines you can get the picture. The developers are pumping up a glitzy vision of pack-em and stack-em  development near rail stations, to entice the political people to buy-in (with our money of course). Neither side is talking enough about what we, the people of Loudoun, will get out of this grand scheme? Don't get me wrong, these guys must be some really sharp people, but unless the public reps employ some hard analysis, we may be left looking like roadkill as this transit/development project rolls right on over us.
Now let’s be clear here, I’m not a planner, a politician, a CEO, or a wealthy developer.  I am an average taxpayer with a few simple questions that I would really like to have answered before Loudoun jumps off the exact same cliff that our neighbors to the east, Fairfax, have.
In this Leesburg Today article, there is a lot of visionary sounding chat among these "rail supporters", but I ask, have our representatives even done a feasibility study that justifies this mega-vision and is there some hope of an economic payback  to the County, from all this Profit Induced Development? Could it be that support is not based on a selfless desire to promote the best interests of Loudoun County?
I’m wondering, because when I attended the Loudoun Board meeting in mid-November when they voted on the MOA thing, I heard county staff inform the current board members that this rail scheme would yield NO net revenue for 30 years.  Add this thought to the the 30 year timeline; most rail forecast are extremely exaggerated. So just maybe that 30 year mark would be 40, 50, or 60 years, or never. That would make this project a muti-billion dollar "Ooops!", for Loudoun.
Second question, do you really call something that will raise taxes, raise tolls and force lots of people back into traffic, an investment?  
Third question, have you read the 185 page Fiscal Impact Analysis. Page 40  says total income over 40 years will be just under $600M. The Loudoun contribution to maintenance of the Metro will be about $1B for the same period, the capital cost to build 2 stations will be +-$300M, and you have taken on building parking garages. Is there a magic formula to come up with the missing money, or do we call that a loss, and how about the cost to borrow all this loot, especially if Loudoun gets booted to below a AAA bond rating? Again, you are the experts, I’m just asking.
Last question, have you ever looked closely at how this rail project has impacted Fairfax, and how a similar super-expensive speculative project managed by No-Bid-Big Dig-Bechtel, (Phase 1 prime contractor), impacted that community?
Please do, because vision is great, but we also need some serious analysis.
 From 11/03/09 Washington Examiner, Barbara Hollingsworth: Walter Alcorn, vice chairman of Fairfax County's Planning Commission, finally conceded last week that turning suburban car-centric Tysons Corner into the Virginia version of downtown Manhattan is going to take some serious cash -- at least $15 billion for roads, sidewalks, overpasses and feeder buses necessary to make Phase 1 of the Dulles Rail project a success.

That's in addition to the $18 billion collected from drivers on the Dulles Toll Road for construction and interest for Phase 2 over the next 40 years, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority's August 2009 bond prospectus, and $4 billion ($100 million annually) in operating subsidies.

We're already up to $37 billion, and "Big Dig" Bechtel hasn't even had a chance to tack on its customary cost overruns, so let's round it up to an even $40 billion for a project that taxpayers were told in 2002 was supposed to cost no more than $4.1 billion ($1.5 billion for Phase 1 and $2.4 billion for Phase 2).

The price tag for Dulles Rail is now ten times what it was just seven years ago.

Ken Cuccinelli said, “This is a huge opportunity to stop an outrageous project that will be a rolling fiscal disaster for Loudoun for years to come.  Fairfax already made its mistake, maybe Loudoun can be stopped before driving off the cliff too.”

posted by David LaRock

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

UPDATE-The Dulles Rail Dream is a Joke- Billions for What?

 Metro meltdown: Normal service resumes after hundreds get stuck.
Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Metro is a black hole of subsidies, never enough money. WMATA predicts a $6.5B capital deficit through 2020.

    Here is a fun video that hints at why so few people actually use commuter rail. So tell me, why spend any money on expanding an outdated transit mode that so many leaders see as a loser?

Get some cool new buses, that is where transit is headed. Note that with bus transit, there is no pay-out to the fat cat developers!

This study puts forward a transit option that works for the way people want to live, not one that requires that we reshape our way of life to include crowded, crime filled, broken down bus stations. Spending big bucks on passenger rail is definitely an outdated idea. Some pretty smart people say bus rapid transit is the way to go. Check it out here:   "Recapturing Global Leadership in Bus Rapid Transit".  

Quoted portion written by the late Christopher W. Walker who was the founder of the Dulles Corridor Users Group and a developer of mixed use projects in the Dulles Corridor and published in the Washington Examiner. Read the full article here
posted by David LaRock

"Historians will be hard put to explain why politicians in the 21st century wanted to pour so much money into mostly 19th century rail technology that, in urban areas, operates at 25 mph at best. Recently elected Republican governors around the country have blown the whistle on wasteful passenger rail projects. Will Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell join them, or will he let the Dulles Rail train wreck run over his conservative credentials?

In Florida, Rick Scott refused $2.4 billion in “free” federal money because it would entail a state investment of $200 million - less than half of the projected 2040 annual tolls on the overburdened Dulles Toll Road (DTR).
In Ohio, John Kasich refused $400 million of federal money for a Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland rail line because it would require a $17 million annual subsidy - two months worth of current DTR tolls.
In Wisconsin, Scott Walker refused $810 million in federal funds for a Madison-to-Milwaukee rail line that would have obligated his state for $9 million a year – just one month’s worth of tolls on the DTR today, and less than one week’s worth of tolls by 2040.
In New Jersey, Chris Christie turned down $3 billion in federal money for the Access to the Regional Core rail project because of undefined state obligations. Christie called the use of zero coupon and capital appreciation bonds—one financing mechanism for Dulles Rail Phase I—“Wall Street trickery.”
In Virginia, the so-called “free” $900 million federal grant for Phase I actually ends up costing Virginians since it requires Davis-Bacon labor contract obligations that inflate the project cost by more than that amount."

Get Smart and Get Out-The Door is Open

 Tom Cranmer has a degree in geology and civil engineering from Yale and an MBA in finance and economics. He has worked on soil and water projects for four decades around the world involved in analyzing, developing, managing and financing major projects. He was the manager of operation for oil, gas and electricity reconstruction in Iraq. Tom has studied the Dulles Rail Scheme as much as he can considering how little real information has been leaked out. Tom can spot a lemon and does not like it when the numbers do not add up. Tom cares about his home community in Fairfax. This is his summary, he gives Rail to Dulles and Loudoun this grade.


The US Department of Transportation drafted a "Memorandum of Agreement" (MOA) for funding the proposed Dulles Rail Phase 2 to serve western Fairfax and eastern Loudon Counties. The MOA shows a cost "now" of $3.8 billion. In addition, the VA Department of Transportation (VDOT) proposes to provide $150 million spread over five years to help reduce interest charges, but subject to General Assembly approval. Please oppose the Phase 2 project for the following reasons:

- Phase 2 is uneconomic. The Federal Transit Administration rejected funding Dulles Rail Phase 2 previously due to low forecast ridership. The rail project service area has less than half the population density stipulated by Federal and State government standards to meet minimum economically viable heavy rail ridership demand.
- Costs are too high. Dulles rail construction costs increased from an initial estimate of $1.9 billion in 2000 to about $7.0 billion. Phase 2 preliminary engineering and cost estimates are due by Spring 2012. Contract bids are to be requested and awarded in late 2012. Costs could increase. Signing the MOA is premature. Dulles Rail is Fairfax's and Loudoun's "Big Dig." The Dulles Toll Road is being used to pay most of the cost of Dulles Rail.
- Tolls would be outrageously high. Toll road tolls for maintenance and debt service are projected to be up to $10.70 per car one way in 2018. Combined with the cost of commuting on the Dulles Greenway the annual charges would be $8,250. By commuting on the HOT lanes on Route 495 (the Beltway) during rush hour, the total charges would be over $10,000 per year.
- Traffic on free roads will increase greatly. As Toll Road charges rise, most current toll road users will use other routes. A study by Cal Poly State University, California, shows when tolls double, then 75% of users are likely to take nearby toll free parallel roads. Traffic congestion would increase on Routes 7, 50, 29 and I-66, plus back roads. These highways would require additional state spending for improvements and maintenance.
- The Dulles Toll Road is likely to go bankrupt. As with the high tolls preceding the Greenway bankruptcy in 1996, most people would revolt and not use the toll road. The State might bear bankruptcy costs in addition to interest charges. VA bond ratings could be adversely affected.
- It is unreasonable to penalize toll road drivers with paying most of the capital costs of rail. As presently planned, rail users will make zero contribution to capital costs.
- Bus transit is a far better option than Heavy Rail for Phase 2. Buses have a much lower capital cost per person transported. Bus routing is flexible and expenditure can be varied to meet changes in demand. There can be multiple pickup points. Buses are available now and run on the reserved Dulles Airport access road over the proposed Phase 2 route.
- Adding rail transport is unlikely to increase mass transit use significantly. Transit's share of commuting in the Washington, DC area in 1976 was 16.7% before Metro opened and 16.8% in 2008 -- not a significant change with Metro.
- The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) that runs Dulles Rail / Toll Road has failed to make $300+ million in promised improvements to the Dulles Toll Road. No Phase 2 approvals and funding should occur until these improvements are done.
- Virginia is facing a one billion dollar deficit in the biennial budget. Subsidizing northern Virginia commuters with $150 million for Phase 2 is a low priority project that can be eliminated compared to significant increases necessary in Medicaid and taking care of the disabled.
- With a $150 million VA subsidy, tax payers would pay about $6,522 per rail commuter over five years. Dulles Rail would have 23,000 regular commuters, only 1.2% of two million people living in Northern Virginia. This is based on Metro's Dulles Rail projected usage figures. Taxpayers should not subsidize commuters this way.
- Tax payers will have to subsidize the greater deficits in Metro's operations. Metro projects an annual $12 million operating deficit for just the Silver Line in 2014. Adding additional rail mileage would necessitate increased deficits. Metro fares do not even cover operating expenses. Metro's operating and capital deficits are paid by taxpayers.
- The Metro for Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland is facing a $6.5 billion dollar deficit for major repairs and replacements with no sources of financing identified. The total Capital Needs Inventory for FY 2011-20 is $13.3 billion, of which only $6.8 billion is funded. Repairs for existing facilities should be covered before new politically attractive projects should be taken on, like Phase 2 Dulles Rail.
- Revenues from the Federal Government are likely to be lower. Defense expenditures are now mandated to be cut, negatively affecting up to one third of Virginia's economy and budget. Virginia and Northern Virginia can't afford the luxury of Phase 2.
- The international and U.S. economies are weak and uncertain. With parts of Europe possibly sliding into another recession, the Euro in trouble, interest rates rising for some countries that have been spendthrifts, the US economy and revenues for Virginia are likely to be lower.
- Financing Phase 2 removes $3.8 billion from the productive economy of the U.S. Lenders have limited money, and the private sector has been complaining they can't get adequate financing.
- VDOT has inadequate money to finance repairs to existing roads, and very little to pay for road expansion. VDOT wants counties and cities to finance repairs on secondary roads. Congested roads in Virginia are not being budgeted for expansion. A subsidy for Phase 2 removes more money for maintenance and road expansions.
- MWAA will impose a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with unions as a condition of a prime contractor receiving an award. MWAA's board of directors voted in April 2011 to impose a mandatory Project Labor Agreement with unions as a requirement for bids on Phase 2. The Project Labor Agreement for Phase 1 was voluntary and agreed after the contract award. The PLA with unions and the Federal Davis Bacon Act will drive costs up due to union wages being paid and union work rules being imposed. In addition, such a PLA conflicts with VA's status as a right-to-work state.

With the poor economic outlook, potentially lower revenues, higher priority needs and an uneconomic project, it seems important to recognize there should be a limit to risky and uneconomic use of taxpayers' money. Please oppose Phase 2 of Dulles Rail.

Thomas L. Cranmer
Dranesville Director,
Fairfax County Taxpayers' Alliance
Dulles Corridor Users Group

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Virginia’s Big Dig-Rail-to-Dulles Story is Huge

You can help stop the
Virginia Rail Big Dig by contacting your county supervisor and your state representatives

click here for contact info 

Hello citizens of Virginia,
It’s been a few weeks since we updated you to let you know about how Election Day polls showed the growing majority of support for getting Loudoun County out of what Attorney General calls a “financial boondoggle.”
How big is this project, people ask? In fact this project is so big, so expensive, and so out of control, we are renaming it “Virginia’s Big Dig.” It started out with a cost estimate of $1.9 billion in 2000 and is presently pushing $7 billion. That is really no surpise when you consider Bechtel is the contractor for the original Big Dig and now for Virginia's Big Dig. They, Bechtel, design it as they go and have a no-bid contract. Sweet deal for them as they play and we pay! 
 “It is a story about the power of government to commandeer billions of dollars of resources from taxpayers and to shower private-sector interests with billions of dollars in engineering contracts, construction contracts, bond deals and development opportunities.” says blogger Jim Bacon of Bacon’s Rebellion
Thomas Cranmer, an economist from Fairfax, put together this summary of issues with Phase 2 of the "Virginia Big Dig" sometimes called Rail to Dulles and Loudoun.  Read more here
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says that it should be killed and calls it an "economic boondoggle" the state doesn't need.
"It's just not worth it," Cuccinelli said in a recent appearance on WMAL radio. "It's a rip-off."
Cuccinelli also took issue with the airports authority's decision to pursue a union-friendly labor agreement for Phase 2. Virginia is a right-to-work state, meaning that union membership is not required to secure a job. The contractor, Dulles Transit Partners, voluntarily adopted a similar labor agreement for the project's first phase. Read More Here

How these mega-projects are sold to trusting people is an outrage. Two New Studies show a pattern of bias against transportation modes such as buses and a pattern of distorting rail budgets and projections to sell rail to the public. All this seems to be part of the effort to keep the hype up on rail, which is a far more expensive transit option than buses. The results often leave taxpayers stuck with far more dept than was promised, as with the Big Dig.
Dulles Toll Corridor prime example of bias & mis-selection Read More Here
Cited as an example of rigged selection against bus is the Dulles Toll Road corridor where an approximate $6 billion rail transit line is currently under construction, the financing being heavily based on toll revenue bonds.
Scholars have also found that it can be politically rewarding to lie about the costs and benefits of a project

Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University says, "Unfortunately, studies
 (see page 4) have shown that project promoters routinely ignore, hide, or otherwise leave out important project costs and risks to make total costs appear lower. Researchers refer to this as the “planning fallacy” or the “optimism bias.” Scholars have also found that it can be politically rewarding to lie about the costs and benefits of a project. The data show that the political process is more likely to give funding to managers who underestimate the costs and overestimate the benefits. In other words, it is not the best projects that get implemented but the ones that look the best on paper." she also said, "...9 out of 10 rail projects overestimate the actual traffic. Moreover, 84 percent of rail-passenger forecasts are wrong by more than 20 percent. Thus, for rail, passenger traffic averages 51.4 percent less than estimated traffic. This means that there is a systematic tendency to overestimate rail revenues."

Senator Richard Black and Delegate Bob Marshall

Propose Legislation Efforts are underway by Virginia Delegates and Senators to block handing over any money to MWAA for rail unless they back-off their insistence on importing union labor, and they are demanding MWAA submit to open audit and FOIA laws.
Robert G. Marshall, R-Manassas, has
filed a bill to prohibit the use of state revenues for construction of Phase 2 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project unless the project meets three transparency standards. Senator-elect Dick Black R-Prince William, Loudoun submitted a companion bill.

This is where we are headed if people do not speak up.

Commuters get stuck in traffic and pay $17 tolls each way by 2020, while a few rail users will get an almost free ride.
Drivers will vote with their routes and clog nearby roads but they will still pay one way or another.
Rail stations generate far more traffic than they eliminate, which in turn requires more expensive road upgrades.
Construction jobs go out of state with the PLA-like terms that are part of the union payoff favored by the MWAA board.
Virginia may or may  choose not to participate financially in this project that will send jobs to out of state union halls in defiance of its right to work laws and at a time when jobs are precious. Keep in mind the money to pay for those jobs, and the cost of the project overall is coming out of the pockets of Virginia taxpayers and commuters.
Local budgets will be forced to deal with competing interests if local communities are strapped with massive capital costs and a share of maintaining the aging Metro fleet. The estimated annual  maintenance cost share for Loudoun is forecast to be $33 million which is about $25million more than it will take in annually. And those costs will likely climb if they are based on deliberately inaccurate projections.
Schools and other programs will suffer as they compete for a limited amount of local and state money.
You can help stop the Virginia Rail Big Dig by contacting your county supervisor and your state representatives and writing letters to editors

David LaRock
Hamilton Virginia

representatives contact info

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Loudoun Republicans Tell MWAA - No PLA and No Money for Dulles Rail Unless...

    This is a giant step toward protecting Loudoun and all of Virginia  from the power of  The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA). They are the un-elected, un-accountable and in many people's opinion an out -of-control body that is calling the shots on this proposed Phase 2 rail scheme. They (MWAA) are demanding hundreds of $millions in Union perks be added to the project and asking the State of Virginia to fork over hundreds of $millions to the rail project, while the MWAA Board is refusing to submit to audits or even FOIA requests. Their audacity is off the chart.
    The majority of the MWAA Board represent interests outside Virginia. Here is what the Loudoun Republican Committee has to say about that.

   On Monday night, November 28th,  2011 at the Loudoun County Republican Committee meeting in Leesburg, the LCRC voted unanimously to adopt a  Resolution with certain amendments made at the meeting. 

   The Resolution mirrors legislation (H.B. No. 2) pre-filed by Delegate Bob Marshall with the General Assembly, and was supported by Marshall and Senator-elect Dick Black.  Bob Marshall helped guide the discussion at the LCRC meeting.  Speaking at the meeting, in favor of the resolution were Delegate Joe May, Chairman of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors Scott York, Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio and several people from the Committee.  May's support was very important given his position as Chairman of the Appropriations - Transportation Subcommittee.
   The unanimous consensus among those voting at the meeting fuels hopes that other representatives, some of them in attendance at the meeting, are ready to take the lead on these difficult issues.

    State Senator-elect Richard Black has indicated he will post a companion bill in the senate, possibly as earlier as this week. Black commented that he is determined to "not let these interests get a foot in the door and begin to erode Virginia's Right-To-Work laws."
Black summed up his position by adding "this is not about saying yes or no to the rail project, it is about making sure that Virginia is not sending millions of taxpayers’ dollars to an unelected body (MWAA) that has closed meetings, will not submit to open audits, and has repeatedly ignored Government Accountability Office notices to improve its practices."

    A look at the LCRC resolution shows three primary concerns. First were addressed, it takes a position against PLAs and union driven rules for Dulles Rail Phase 2; second, it proposes that before any Virginia State funding goes to Dulles Rail, that MWAA subject itself to Virginia FOIA laws; and third, it seeks accountability through a state audit if state funding goes to the MWAA project.  The Resolution asks the Loudoun Board of Supervisors and the Loudoun Delegation to support these principles in legislation, not just state or federal executive assurances.

David LaRock

H.B. No. 2:

LCRC resolution:

PASSED November 28, 2011

Resolution to Oppose Project Labor Agreement or Union-Driven Rules for Dulles Rail

WHEREAS, Loudoun County has entered into an agreement with the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority ("MWAA") to construct Rail to Dulles International Airport and 3 miles into Loudoun County; and

WHEREAS, the agreement with MWAA has not been finalized; and

WHEREAS, MWAA intends to mandate a Project Labor Agreement ("PLA") or union driven rules as part of the construction of Phase II of Dulles Rail; and

WHEREAS, such mandate would require the use of union workers and a wage which will effectively preclude most Virginia contractors and businesses from participation in Phase II construction, with most of Virginia contractors ineligible to compete; and

WHEREAS, such provisions mandating union workers undermine the Commonwealth of Virginia's Right to Work Laws, and

WHEREAS, such mandate would require 1.5 wages for hours beyond a 40 hour work week, rigid job classifications, work rules and wage rates (which are union driven) which will significantly increase the construction costs of Dulles Rail Phase II; and

WHEREAS, most Virginia contractors operate under an "open shop" arrangement without union driven mandates; and

WHEREAS, MWAA has very restrictive practices for open meetings, and freedom of Information access by the public which are inconsistent with Virginia law, and

WHEREAS no audit oversight of MWAA’s METRO extension construction project to Tyson's Corner, Dulles Airport and beyond was included for any agency of the Commonwealth when Governor Tim Kaine unilaterally relinquished control of the Dulles Toll Road to MWAA without General Assembly approval,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Loudoun County Republican Committee call upon the Loudoun Board of Supervisors and the members of Loudoun's General Assembly delegation to oppose mandatory PLA provisions or union-driven rules in the final agreement with MWAA for the construction of Phase II of Dulles Rail, the lack of transparency and audit oversight by the Commonwealth; and that if Phase II construction proceeds that it not proceed under present conditions without these concerns being addressed by legislation, and not mere state or federal executive assurances, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee shall cause copies of this resolution to be disseminated to the members of the Board of Supervisors and to the media.

Adopted this 28th day of November 2011

Mark Sell
Loudoun County Republican Committee

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Survey on Proposed Rail to Loudoun

Should Loudoun spend up to $1Billion on Dulles Rail,
or OPT OUT and pay nothing?