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More Metrorail Extension Follies

By Greg L | 28 July 2007 | Fairfax County, Virginia Politics | 6 Comments

What is the extension of Metrorail to Dulles going to cost?  Four billion dollars has become five billion dollars, and as Bacon’s Rebellion reports, it will only continue to rise.  To make matters worse, these project cost increases put at risk the federal funding component which is about the only thing that makes the cost of this project remotely bearable by the Commonwealth’s taxpayers.  Will Virginia taxpayers have to bear the full five, six or seven billion dollar cost of this boondoggle?

Advocates of the transportation compromise which passed in the General Assembly last session trumpeted how historic it was that we could devote an entire three billion dollars to transportation improvements throughout the Commonwealth over a period of several years by going into debt.  That actually made considerable sense.  Now it appears that a single project benefiting only a small portion of the Commonwealth’s residents will cost perhaps twice as much, and there is a risk that a significant portion of that funding package may get diverted to Northern Virginia in order to protect federal funding for the extension of mass transit to Dulles Airport.  That is an outrage.

There are a lot of us who actually like mass transit, but dedicating such huge resources to a single project which will never be financially self-sufficient, and require ever-increasing annual subsidies is a poor use of taxpayer dollars.  This project, in it’s current form, needs to be canceled.



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6 Comments

  1. Anonymous said on 28 Jul 2007 at 9:32 am:
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    Why aren’t the airlines subsidizing this? Or the airport authority? These may be really basic questions, but the economics of this aren’t something I am completely familiar with. Of the the three regional airports, you can reach two by mass transit - BWI has a shuttle bus from the Amtrak station that will take you to the terminal. Why is it so crucial that Dulles is on Metro. They are shuttle services from both the one of the Falls Church stations and National. It seems like the mass transit needs are being met. So they don’t have a pretty train station - so what! Why not give that money back to road and transit improvements that benefit more than just frequent flyers? More VRE stations, better local bus service, better mass transit options to places like Tysons and closer in….

  2. anon said on 28 Jul 2007 at 1:38 pm:
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    It will be a very empty train to Dulles.

  3. Advocator said on 28 Jul 2007 at 2:20 pm:
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    Service to Dulles won’t help anyone in PWC. A steady stream of buses from the areas malls and shopping centers to Vienna and DC would. But that could be done for a fraction of the cost of a rail line, and the politicians’ “commissions” would be commensurately lower.

  4. CW said on 28 Jul 2007 at 10:55 pm:
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    Looks like the collection for the big track has begun. Anyone seen their annual car registration fees lately? Just got mine yesterday and it looked like it doubled this year. Between that and the car tax that still haunts us I’ll have paid 1-2k for it already this year. Maybe I can drive out to Dulles to ride the train in to work once in a while. No telling what the NVTA has up their sleeves this coming year.

  5. Loudoun Insider said on 29 Jul 2007 at 4:35 pm:
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    Much of this mess lies right at the feet of Fairfax County BOS Chairman Gerry Connolly. He absolutely must go. Vote for Gary Baise!

  6. Ted said on 29 Jul 2007 at 8:38 pm:
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    CW, I called Bob Marshall about the registration fee increase ($31.50 to $41.50). He said that was part of the statewide transportation bill and is not a result of any action by the regional transportation authority.

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