Group Using Robocalls to Derail Silver Line

Conservative group calling Loudoun residents, urging them to withdraw support for Metrorail.

As the July 4 deadline for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to decide whether to continue to support Rail to Dulles, some Loudoun residents have been getting robocalls urging them to support the supervisors in a pullout, The Washington Post reports.

The Post reported on Friday that the calls are coming from Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that advocates for lower taxes and smaller government. Callers are encouraging residents to tell their supervisors they don’t want a tax increase to pay for Metro’s extension.

The callers say Loudoun cannot afford the costs, and that even if Loudoun opts out, the Silver Line will still be built to Dulles International Airport.

The board will meet Monday to hear residents’ comments about the Silver Line. Meanehile, Americans for Prosperity is planning a rally in downtown Leesburg.

The new, all-Republican Loudoun board has

Other issues plaguing the second phase: costs (the project has no federal money whereas Phase 1 has $900 million); and concern over

Phase 1, which is more than 70 percent complete, will run from Falls Church to Reston's Wiehle Avenue. It is slated to be in operation December 2013. Phase 2, from Wiehle to Dulles and into Loudoun County, was slated to open 2016, but the latest issues have already delayed bids to get construction going.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which oversees the $6 billion construction of the Silver Line, is expected to discuss the PLA next week. The Commonwealth is slated to contribute $150 million, but Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) says he will withhold that money if the PLA stays in place.    

Melvin Summers June 04, 2012 at 02:06 PM
I think it's funny that they use the robocall technique, no one listens to those things. I hang up as soon as I hear it is a computer. You can have your robots call people day and night, it won't change what the great majority of us already know. Loudoun needs the Metro. Yest to Metro
Bob Bruhns June 04, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Notice: Not one reporter, not one leader, not one person asked: why do the costs of this rail project appear to be close to two times what they should be. Not one reporter, not one leader, not one person asked: why are the anti-toll people, and the anti-tax people, not asking why the costs of this rail project appear to be close to two times what they should be. Draw your own conclusions.
MIke June 05, 2012 at 03:36 AM
36 year old, ashburn resident here AGAINST rail to Loudoun. This wrecklessly spending needs to end before our children's children are paying our debts. Vote NO to rail to Dulles.
MIke June 05, 2012 at 03:39 AM
But in this case we have a choice to not take on an additional tax burden that has no end in sight. Just last year we voted to build 2 new schools at a huge debt. Let's not take away money needed by our children for future schools.
MIke June 05, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Taxes don't "always" have to go up... If we have more fiscally responsible government they could / and will go down.
MIke June 05, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Libby, I travel between leesburg, ashburn and sterling daily, and have never used the greenway due to its costs. Take sicolin rd and it takes about 10 minutes to ashburn from leesburg. If your budget is tight, you'll find new ways to get where you need to go, just as fast as the greenway.
MIke June 05, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Nail, meet hammer.
the-stix June 05, 2012 at 09:43 AM
Why would anyone ask questions about a single unbelievably inflated Chicken Little charge that has little to no credibility?
Bob Bruhns June 05, 2012 at 10:44 AM
Maybe because they read the links, and now they wonder about the unbelievable price discrepancies too?
J Williams June 06, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Oh please, everything goes up...when was the last time there was a downward trend in the cost of anything, including taxes? At least we will see our tax money being spent on something that will benefit where we live now and for the future. I support the Silver Line!
abroderick June 06, 2012 at 03:57 AM
I think it's silly that people are still arguing over this. The polls show that over 80% of people want the Metro. That's an overwhelming majority. Obviously people think the gain is worth the cost. I'm sorry if you don't agree, but in a democracy the majority rules. I support the Metro.
Bob Bruhns June 06, 2012 at 12:46 PM
No, prices don't just go up like this. They are allowed to be massively bloated by complicit government, complicit news media and ignorant, apathetic citizens. Look at the overcharges! $83 million for our Metro stations, when a Metro station in Fairfield Connecticut cost $39.1 million, plus $4.6 million for road adjustments, in December 2011. Why are our Metro rail stations so expensive? $26,394 per space for parking garages, when nearby Herndon Virginia says $15,000 per space - or less - for its planned Downtown Development parking garage. $15,000 to $16,000 per space seems to be the actual cost in this area. Why are the Silver Line parking garages listed at $26,394 per space? $237 million per mile (not including items that are not in the comparable rail job), compared to $116 million to $136 million per mile, adjusted for inflation, for the 1997 Franconia Springfield Metro extension. Why is our Silver Line so expensive? I'm not sure why inflation just keeps raising prices, but it seems to have been working an awful lot of overtime on the Silver Line, doesn't it? This is why construction loves to bargain with local government - local government is complicit with huge overcharges, and citizens don't understand, care or even notice. The result is wild hyperinfation, and people saying, "Oh, prices always go up, get over it." People really need to wake up. This is a whole lot of money - and you, your children, and your grandchildren will be paying for generations.
Bob Bruhns June 06, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I read that opinion in Loudoun County itself is mixed. The organized support I see in the news photos and video from the June 4, 2012 meeting tells me that this is not grass roots support, but orchestrated support, complete with green T-shirts and co-ordinated signs. With about a Billion and a half dollars of overcharge in this job, I'm really not surprised. This thing is massively overpriced. People really need to wake up. This is a whole lot of money - and you, your children, and your grandchildren will be paying for generations.
joe brewer June 06, 2012 at 01:34 PM
What is it with the I feel, I think and I hope comments? Sorry to tell you the 80% numbers do not rule it will be a 5 to 4 supervisors rule! Since they have the pertinet numbers the judgement will be against tying our taxes to the MWAA, the chamber of commerce, the real estate agents and the silly people whou bought property because the real estate agent said there would be rail soon, dopes one and all. Bob is giving you-all a free math class and you should avail yourself of it!
the-stix June 06, 2012 at 01:38 PM
A "billion and a half dollars overcharge" for Phase 2 is a ridiculous assertion from an internet "gadfly" that has little credibility in rail project cost estimating. The Phase 2 cost estimate by professional and experienced estimators seems right in line with the Phase 1 cost actuals and remaining work to be done.
J Williams June 06, 2012 at 03:11 PM
If you are insinuating I am ignorant we are going to have a problem sir. Things cost more or less in different parts of the country, thats just plain fact. A studio apartment in Manhattan is going to cost a heck of a lot more than the same size space in Omaha. You cannot compare costs for "stations" (plural) here to costs for a station (singular) in CT, thats like comparing apples to oranges. The more you opt outers argue the less your arguments make sense.
Paul June 06, 2012 at 03:36 PM
If the costs are out of line, that is a problem, sure. But when you have a problem with the price, you don't scrap the project, you correct the problem. We need transportation infrastructure improvements. Try driving from loudoun to tysons, arlington, alexandria, DC, or anywhere in maryland during rush hour. When I worked in arlington, my 8 hour work day, was an 11 or 12 hours away from the family day, because of the commute. If your work is herndon or closer, I can see why you wouldn't see the value in a rail line. If you can't let go of your car, and walk from a subway station to the office, I can understand why you don't get it. We need the subway. We need buses to support the subway. We also need to get rid of the traffic lights and put in overpasses on route 7, like we did with 28. We can't just hope that people will stop moving into the county if we let the traffic keep getting worse. They will keep coming.
Melvin Summers June 06, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I agree paul, you don't scrap a whole project because you might not agree with some of the prices involved. It's called negotiating, you compromise and then move forward. This area does need the metro, and better busses, which btw Metro will bring a better bus system with it, and better roads. This area is so populated it needs all three. Build the Metro, it will serve our great great great grandchildren... Yes to Metro!!!
abroderick June 07, 2012 at 12:22 AM
I think if you ask one question it should be what will the Metro do for me? It will reduce traffic on congested roads bringing down the rate of fatal accidents. If it saves just one life, isn't it worth it? It will reduce CO2 emissions and therefore reduce our carbon footprint. The Metro has been shown to reduce rates of crime as well. It will also get rid of a lot of stress for commuters. I welcome the Metro.
Bob Bruhns June 07, 2012 at 12:44 AM
What it will do for you is relieve you and others paying for Phase II of about a Billion and a half more dollars that it should have, plus interest on the loans to pay that excess. For this dubious service, it will require that you fight and argue for months. It's only really good for property owners right around the stations, certain lucky contractors perhaps, and individuals and political groups who have some special arrangement with the major benefactors. The rest of us will notice higher taxes and fewer services. As for saving lives, I think the Billion and a half dollars of overcharge, plus interest, could have done a great deal. Also, a dedicated-lane BUS system could have saved a lot more money that could have done very good things. But people who want this project, want this project, whether it is because they are pocketing obscene profits because of its overcost, or whether they simply want to ride a choo choo train and eat a lollipop. What can I say?
Bob Bruhns June 07, 2012 at 01:23 AM
I see the excessive costs. Where was the compromise? Do you mean the above ground / below ground game, that left us with a three mile LOOP of expensive elevated rail, and an elevated rail station a quarter mile from the air terminal? Do you mean hiding the Rt 28 rail station cost and the Phase II parking garage costs by dumping them onto Fairfax and Loudoun Counties? Do you mean the PLA that morphed into the 10% union preference and then got thrown under the bus today? (And won't make much dollar-difference at all.) Those smoke and mirrors tricks do not, by any stretch, compensate for a price that is nearly 100% high. What compromise are you talking about?
T-Bird June 07, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Bob, you are full of bull sir. And Mike is a bankrolled troll. The "evidence" yoiu site has no credability. You post links to your OWN blog, that YOU wrote and then cite that as "evidence" that something is wrong. That there is some grand conspiracy, because of the cost of a project from 30 years ago and some other unrelated project in another part of the country doesn't equate to your skewed math. Then you harp on some error in a white paper that EVERYBODY KNOWS ABOUT as some kind of secret. Really? Then you give a list of "think tanks" that have "concluded" that the project is not worth it. Think tanks? Try conservitave talking point machines. You don't think any free thinking person would consider their "conclusion" seirously do you? To call you an amature would be a compliment. You are nothing more than a no talent hack.
The Baconator June 08, 2012 at 03:11 AM
We need Metro, everyone should let the people that they voted for know that we want you to vote yes and give us what we have needed for over ten years now, good public transportation.
Bob Bruhns June 08, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Hi T-Bird. I post links to that blog because it has links to the information that doesn't fit into 1500 character posts here. Oh, also Fairfax County does not have the former County Executive's answer to my $53 million dollar FTA blunder question online, so I have to host it. If you prefer, I can post multiple linked posts here, in comments to article after article, but it doesn't make sense to me to do that all the time. Once in a while, OK - but not all the time. And you claim that everybody knows about the $53 million blunder in the July 3, 2011 FTA White Paper? Show me ONE news article that mentions it. You won't find a single one. That's why I keep harping on it! The only place you find that mentioned, is in my comments! Oh, and also in quiet, behind-the-scenes discussions in Fairfax County Government, that are not made public. So, why would you claim that this is well known, when it is not? You speak of bankrolled trolls - might you be one yourself?
Bob Bruhns June 09, 2012 at 03:43 AM
That's right - get BUS going all over the county, so the vast majority of the population can get to and from the rail! Hmm, then ask yourselves... wouldn't it make more sense to just bring those buses to Rt 28, or Herndon, or even all the way to Wiehle Ave, on dedicated bus lanes in the rail right of way?
Bob Bruhns June 09, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Stix, as an educational exercise, please see if you can locate and post links to any listed rail station costs for Phase I. Let me know when you have done that. You see, MWAA allowed excessive prices for the Phase I items, hiding that at the time - and now you want to point to that as the standard price for such work. But that's not valid - witness the price of the Fairfield Connecticut Metro station (completed in December 2011 after many problems), that cost ONE HALF of what the FTA listed for the Rt 28 station. You know, if the FTA had not messed up with their July 3, 2011 White Paper, and released some numbers (bungling the Rt 28 station cost by $53 million in the process), I wouldn't even know about the Phase II overcosts. But I'm sure you still think FTA has credibility after falsely adding $53 million to that price, after overstating it by 2:1 to begin with. And then they overstated the cost of the parking garages - claiming $26,394 per space, when the cost should be about $15,000 to $16,000 per space. And they overstated the cost of the whole job by nearly 2:1, and then hid some of that cost by dumping the Rt 28 station and the parking garage costs onto Fairfax and Loudoun Counties - who were suddenly happy, after being upset about the cost before that. Oh yes, that's real credibility there. You just can't make this stuff up!
Bob Bruhns June 09, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Stix - here is a hint: http://www.mwaa.com/dulles/2552.htm Oh my, look at all those redactions! You know, other students of overpriced rail tactics might be interested in this too! As I was saying, MWAA put big overcharges into the Phase I prices, and they hid the overcharges with redactions - and now, their apologists use the Phase I prices, to justify the Phase II prices. Despicable, isn't it. This overpricing tactic caused unnecessary hyperinflation in the price of one public project, and it threatens to cause unnecessary hyperinflation in the cost of MANY public projects. JUST SAY NO!
Bob Bruhns June 09, 2012 at 05:11 AM
JW, you should take a look at Fairfield, Connecticut - a very wealthy suburb of New York City. We're not talking about third-world pricing in Fairfield, Connecticut - yet the Metro station just completed there in December 2011 cost HALF of what ours does! The Phase II parking garages are only a few miles from Herndon, Virginia, where the planned Downtown Development parking garage is estimated to cost $15,000 per space - or less - yet the Phase II parking garages are listed at $26,394 per space. The Phase II Metro parking garages are simply too expensive. The Franconia-Springfield Metro extension of 1997, per mile, adjusted for real inflation, cost about HALF of what Dulles Rail Phase II supposedly costs per mile, adjusted for items that the 1997 job did not include. These costs should be equivalent, but they certainly are not. There is no excuse for this, JW - it's massive overpricing, plain and simple, and we are the victims.
Bob Bruhns June 09, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Did you enjoy those redactions, stix? You can find more here: http://www.mwaa.com/dulles/2554.htm (This page has Supporting Documents that were submitted to the Federal Transit Administration on February 1, 2008.) So you see, this is how hyperinflation was orchestrated in the Dulles Rail project. MWAA put big overcharges into the Phase I prices, and they hid the overcharges with redactions so that nobody would know - well, nobody but the insiders, anyway. And now, their apologists are pointing to the Phase I costs, to justify the Phase II costs. I suggest that this trickery should not be allowed to continue. Anyway, let me know if you ever find prices for any of the rail stations in Phase I, stix. I'll listen to the chirping crickets in the meantime.
Bob Bruhns June 21, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Paul, do you even live in Northern Virginia? None of the Dulles Rail Phase II rail extension runs underground. Not one inch of it. So why are you calling it a subway?


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