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Dulles Rail Expansion

June 12, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Dear Editor, Opinion No Comments

I want to rebut some erroneous and/or misleading points made by proponents of Rail in the 6/4 hearing. I respect others’ opinions; some were incorrect.

“This is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity.” I believe this is artificial urgency meant to force a hasty decision. I don’t believe any proof has been presented that we could never build it later. Some insist building later means it would cost more but really the opposite is more likely because if it were managed separate from MWAA to avoid the cost of their bad practices, we would realize far more value for our dollars.

“This will be the current Board of Supervisors’ legacy.” Actually, our Board inherited this decision which is far different than was ever anticipated given that the primary funding partner (the US gov’t) has walked away from it. If Loudoun jumps into Dulles Rail it may well become our Solyndra, sucking in our resources and yielding little. We cannot afford to let that to happen.

“70 percent of the people want this.” Statistics was my minor in grad school, with an emphasis on polls and surveys. This percentage is absolutely meaningless without knowing the exact question involved and the specific methodology of selecting respondents. I expect results would be different if respondents were informed as to the cost, risks, and time involved and those polled were the taxpayers who are being asked to pay.

“This will save time on my commute.” The Silver Line was originally planned to be built to Dulles, yet the cost to add an extra two miles to the proposed Ashburn terminus is more than $1 billion. Is it really worth undertaking “one of the most expensive new transit projects ever conceived” (Heritage Foundation) just to potentially save a few minutes for a few commuters? We live near Brambleton, and my husband commutes to D.C., yet he feels the proposed expansion isn’t worth the cost. The savings in time may be illusory if congestion just shifts from Route 66 to Route 606.

“This will create many new jobs.” The businessmen who spoke are essentially asking for corporate welfare. Spending a few dollars on tee shirts is certainly cheaper than footing the bill for the Metro, but the BoS shouldn’t be pressured by preferred interest groups.

I urge my fellow Loudoun County residents to get informed as to the genuine costs involved and not be fooled by the hype. Please go to http://loudounoptout.blogspot.com/ for more information.

I appeal to the BoS to have a long term vision for Loudoun that is based good management policies, low taxes, and limited regulation. That will keep us competitive and send the message that we are open for business.

Olga Garber

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