WAMU 88.5 : News

Loudoun County Divided Over Silver Line Commitment

Play associated audio
Loudoun is still struggling to figure out how to pay for their portion of Silver Line construction.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/senatormarkwarner/5117597821/
Loudoun is still struggling to figure out how to pay for their portion of Silver Line construction.

A month before Loudoun County officials must decide whether they will withdraw from the largest public transportation project currently under construction in the country, they have big decisions to weigh about how they might fund the county’s $200 million commitment to the $2.7 billion Phase 2 of the Dulles Metro Rail project, if they fund it at all.

All nine members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors are Republicans, but the board is divided over funding options. Supervisors who represent eastern districts are opposed by lawmakers in other parts of the county.

"Those of us who represent districts in the east, we understand the clear transportation benefit to having Metro or to having some other path out of the county," says Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles). "My constituents are sitting in traffic. I sit in traffic every day."

On Monday, the board will hold a public hearing where taxpayers can speak out about the funding options under consideration, among other issues: creating a countywide commercial and industrial transportation tax, or creating special tax districts near the future Metro stops.

Letourneau says it is possible to fund the project without raising taxes, but it is possible the average homeowner in Loudoun County could see an annual property tax increase of $98 per year.

On Wednesday, supervisors will meet to discuss their options. No final decision is expected before July 4, the deadline for the county to decide whether it will pull out of the project altogether. Letourneau, who is serving his first term on the board, says the changes are 50/50 for Loudoun to contribute to Phase 2, which would complete the 23-mile rail link to Dulles International Airport and beyond into the county.

Also on Wednesday the board of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is expected to decide whether it will drop a controversial pro-labor provision – a project labor agreement or PLA – that would provide bidding contractors a 10 percent bonus on their technical evaluation scores if they choose a union workforce to build Phase 2. Even if the PLA is dropped, Letourneau says the county’s commitment to the project will still be a 50/50 proposition because of other outstanding issues.

"For instance, the Dulles Airport stop has an operating subsidy associated with it that Loudoun County is going to have to pay every year. I don’t think that’s especially logical.  Our residents aren’t going to be using that stop, but it’s going to cost us between $5 million and $7 million per year to pay for that stop,” he says.

NPR

'Daisy Is An Animal': Jennifer Jason Leigh On Her Comeback In 'The Hateful Eight'

Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh is back in the spotlight with an Oscar nomination for her role as a murderous woman in the movie The Hateful Eight. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks with her about being cast by Quentin Tarantino.
NPR

Buy Crop Insurance, Double Your Money

The nation's crop insurance program is really a lottery, says one prominent economist. And it's rigged so that farmers win. In fact, farmers typically get back double the money they pay for premiums.
NPR

South Carolina Voters Likely To Play Major Role In Sorting Out GOP Race

The next big Republican primary is just over a week from now in South Carolina, which has a strong track record for picking the eventual winner. The state also has a history of dirty politics.
NPR

Do You Like Me? Swiping Leads To Spike In Online Dating For Young Adults

A study by the Pew Research Center finds the use of online dating sites has mushroomed in the past few years, particularly among 18- to 24-year-olds.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.