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Reston2020: Tolls Biggest Issue for Rail

Toll increases to pay for Phase 2 will make road "the highway of the one percent."

Advocacy Group Reston 2020 says that rising tolls - and not project-labor agreements - are the most important issue for the Silver Line.

In a new white paper (attached to this story in a PDF) titled Rail to Dulles: The Highway of the One Percent, Reston 2020 says tolls will rise more than 800 percent  in the years ahead.

The group, part of the Reston Citizens Association,

Reston 2020 says the huge toll increases will cost regular Fairfax County toll road users almost half of any real income gains over the next four decades as tolls approach $20 one-way and take $17 billion out of the local economy.

The Silver Line's $3 billion Phase 2, which is slated to run from Reston's Wiehle Avenue to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County, is caught up in disputes about the project-labor dispute and who will pay for the rest of the project.

Loudoun County has until July 4 to decide if it will proceed. Fairfax County has already voiced its commitment. While $900 million was paid in Phase 1, scheduled to be completed late last year, there is no federal money for Phase 2.

Reston 2020 forecasts indicate that . By mid-century, high tolls will lead some 80,000-120,000 potential drivers to desert the toll road, turning it into a “Highway of the One Percent,” the group says.

Reston 2020 proposes that in addition to toll road users, station area landowners and the local funding jurisdictions—Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties—share equally in the cost of the line.  

“The Silver Line is an investment in the future of Reston and the Dulles Corridor,” said RCA President Colin Mills. “In order for it to succeed, everyone needs to step up to the plate and do their part."

John Nunyobiz May 10, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Hard to believe they keep trying to ignore this 800 pound elephant. This toll increase will erase any benefits of having the Silver Line completed. I for one have curtailed my use of the toll road after the latest toll increase. I only use it if I absolutly have to. When the toll peaks it will make the toll road fiscally irresponsible to use.Stupid planners!!!!
Greg DiMuzio May 10, 2012 at 06:17 PM
What some of our supervisors, local business leaders and financiers conveniently neglect to mention is that the consumer fuels the growth engine and therefore the job market. With an estimated 6000 dollars per year soon to be taken from the average consumer's pocket for tolls, parking and metro fare and an unknown future property tax burden, our economic well-being and job security is in jeopardy. Remember, only snake oil salesmen tell the unsuspecting customer that this is their only chance for a magic cure. The county supervisors should put an end to this madness and vote no on the Silver Line question in July.
HardHatMommy May 10, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Tolls are very important indeed. I drive the Toll Road every day. But the PLA issue is not irrelevant. It is an issue that affects the majority of our state's construction workers. All, regardless of whether they are represented by a union or not, should have a fair opportunity to win work constructing the project.
CC Mojo May 10, 2012 at 06:52 PM
My favorite words in this debate, so far: Criminals. Boondoggle. Snake Oil. I'm not sure who's writing YOUR script, but, let's try to stay out of the 1800's.
Ken Sisco May 10, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I agree with Reston 2020 that the cost be shared. The Metro has been a boon to business throughout the DC area and transformed the Maryland suburbs into major cities. It can do the same for Loudoun county; it will require a commitment of the people to the future. Putting the cost only on tolls will fail since the traffic will divert away from using the tollway.
Judith Andersen May 10, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Of course traffic will divert. It already does from the Greenway. How come the rest of the WMA has no toll roads? They didn't pay a penny for the subway.
Bob Bruhns May 10, 2012 at 09:03 PM
It is interesting that we already saw a tollroad bankruptcy here some years back, apparently because it was built prematurely, and it used a dubious traffic and revenue study, resulting in tolls that were so high that it drove drivers away from the road. These are some of the same problems that Dulles Rail has, particularly Dulles Rail Phase II. Do a web search on ' RCA Questions Toll And Revenue Forecasts ' - it's the Connection aticle from March 6, 2012. It shows the poor financial assumptions we have today. And here are two interesting articles from some years ago, when we made pretty much the same mistake. Do a web search on ' Greenway: Out of gas? ' - it's the Washington Business Journal article from August 12, 1996. Do a web search on ' Dulles Greenway to Restructure with Bond Offering ' - it's the TollRoad News article from December 13, 1998. I keep telling everybody - the underlying cost is TWO TIMES what it should be. Why not get that price down where it belongs, and see how THAT affects the tolls and taxes? Hmmm?
Just the Facts May 11, 2012 at 01:56 PM
This is a very good article. Finally someone realized the wages for this project are the same for union and non union workers on this project due to the prevailing wage laws. Also from what I know the Pla only will apply if contractors choose to use it, apply to the General Contractor only. This is the same as Phase 1. All subcontracting can be performed under the Pla or they can opt out. Purely voluntary. Very good because the General Contractor will not be a local contractor anyway. I do not know of any local contractors that can bond a 2.5 billion dollar project. So the Pla is a red herring. Construction mommy has to work for the ABC because she is just using the same talking points. If the ABC wants to kill this project, you will be killing all the potential subcontracting as well. All for ideology really makes no sense.
Just the Facts May 11, 2012 at 02:05 PM
The Governor says he is supportive of this project. What does that mean? He has not provided any funding, signed or will be signing into law bills that prevent the Commonwealth from funding the project. So I ave to ask, how is he in support of this reject? How is he reducing tolls? He could provide his 150 million right now to help lower tools. Is he doing it? Answer is no. He continues to be a Public relations Governor with no action. I think we need to all write him letters now telling him to provide the 150 million now and stop playing politics with our toll money. This is nuts.
Bob Bruhns May 11, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Our leaders - Democrat and Republican alike - don't care at all about what happens to us. Governor McDonnell is simply keeping his options open, hoping to be the VP candidate in the upcoming 2012 election - otherwise he would already have been attacking this rail ripoff with all of his power. But nobody is quite sure yet where to position themselves on this rail project, for maximum advantage in that election. Hence, the fence-sitting. But make no mistake; this is a swing region in a swing state. One way or the other, this rail line will be critical to that election, and we'll be seeing that in the months ahead.
John May 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM
You folks are missing the point . . . metro into loudoun relocates jobs into loudoun that you now have to travel for into Fairfax, DC;, etc., New, efficient access shifts development closer to you!!!
RKO May 13, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I think a problem Northern Virginians need to face is the fact that if we let ourselves be talked into something by a bunch of special interests, don't expect the state to help pay for our mistakes. There were a lot of voices opposing rail 10 years ago. Review or recall what those voices said and then just look at the boondoggle the project is now. Everything, and I do mean everything the critics said would happen is happening. The yet unfulfilled prediction of rail opponents from 10 years ago is that rail will never be able to pay for itself because the ridership won't be adequate enough to justify the cost. I suspect this final prediction will be true. The entire thing was nothing but a cash-cow handout to a bunch of wealthy developers and real estate investors. All done by Democrats, I might add. Keep that in mind.
George M May 16, 2012 at 10:00 PM
One issue that is never addressed is the "free road" to Dulles. The Metro will provide a direct connection to the airport, so there is no reason that any part of the access road should be free. The suggestion that equivalent tolls be added to the access road has been completely ignored. Why should anyone be allowed to drive free alongside this shiny new rail system?
Burt Rosenberg June 04, 2012 at 08:50 AM
George M, with baggage, riding Metro is not a real option. "Read my lips, NO NEW TOLLS!"

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