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

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