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