15 Sep 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by cdcva
Patch Instagram photo by jwgartin
Patch Instagram photo by jwgartin

LTE: Is This Train Worth It?

A reader questions value of proposed Metro Silver Line to Loudoun.

LTE: Is This Train Worth It?

Dear Editor,

I am increasingly troubled by the impact of the Silver Line's extension on Loudoun households. I am certain that the rail proponents will present the Loudoun Board of Supervisors with an array of numbers sliced and diced to suit their arguments.

But even with limited time and no access to the services provided by county staff and consultants, I still find it relatively easy to conclude that heavy rail to Ashburn is NOT a better option than express bus transit. In reviewing the April 26 "Responses to Supervisors Questions" memorandum, I get the sense that County staff are going in circles, falling back on the consultant studies and WMAA statements to answer most of the questions that arise from those very studies. What about infrastructure costs?

For a regional transportation plan formulated over 40-odd years, why does Loudoun County still endure the maddening trickle of data from MWAA, while under a hard deadline to consider an agreement that binds us to a permanent unknown liability? When MWAA declares that the county's rail costs cannot be capped, why can't the county economists set a threshold at what the county can afford and limit taxpayers' exposure?

The answers might be obvious within the county offices, but as I ponder the implications of the Metrorail decision, it's clear that Loudoun commuters are pretty much screwed no matter what the Board decides. Having weathered a decade of tough economic times, and enormous increases in health insurance, car maintenance, and facing a choice between the kids' college or our retirement, here comes a toll increase that might compel us to leave our home because travel to work will become intolerable. We mark 20 years living in Loudoun this year, but sustaining it is looking bleak. Is this train really worth
it?

Robert M. Jones
North Fork

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