Skip to comments.Wary eyes on Dulles rail project’s bottom line
Posted on 10/01/2011 11:47:06 PM PDT by MinorityRepublicanEdited on 10/02/2011 6:53:53 PM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
The first phase of the Dulles rail project — extending Metrorail service to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County — is scheduled for completion in December 2013. An important part of the project is underway in the Tysons Corner area.
The Metrorail extension through Tysons Corner has burned through more than 70 percent of its contingency fund. With two years of construction remaining, the jurisdictions paying for the line — and Dulles Toll Road drivers — could be on the hook for millions in possible cost overruns, transportation experts say.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Big hole,, big shovel, loads of tax payers money.
But Christie gets criticized for not approving the 5 billion (plus ??) rail-tunnel boondoggle between NJ and NY City.
The Tyson’s Corner part of this extension will likely pay off in some fashion. There’s talk of a massive amount of real estate and apartments going up around this METRO station, with tens of thousands of residents riding METRO from that area. The other part of this extension....to Dulles....is questionable though.
Dulles isn’t exactly an airport that is readily used, and the idea of a METRO arrival at this airport for passengers is also questionable. At present, if you wanted to get there via public transportation....there’s a bus that runs from downtown DC out to the airport about every thirty minutes. It’s not being heavily used. So I would question how the hundreds of millions on Dulles will translate into people getting there.
Adding to the whole mess...most people now expect the bulk of people riding the rail out to Dulles eventually....to be mostly employees of the airport. That’s something that the public has not fully grasped yet.
Metro has 16 board members-4 from VA, MA, DC and the feds. The board members vote on who will pay for this mostly by charging Virginia tolls and raising VA fees. Virginia has virtually no say in this except for their board members. These board members are in the minority, are Democrats, and was appointed by Tim Kaine coming from Fairfax and Arlington counties (two of the most liberal and Democratic areas in VA).
Bob McDonnell has been trying to cut costs by eliminating the Metro provision to hire strictly union contractors (gasp) and increasing VA board member representation with someone from the governor's office. No dice so far. When the board members wanted to spend ANOTHER $400M for an underground rail station (instead of above ground) at Dulles, there was such an outcry that the feds sided with Virginia and voted it down.
Tolls will go up from $3.40 round trip to $9.60 on the Greenway to pay for the Metro.
And in light of all the overspending, overtaxing, and obvious corruption; the Democrats would like to have ANOTHER Metro rail extension to southern Woodbridge.
BTW-I don’t know much about construction projects but there was talk early on about scrapping this. That is when the construction got fast and furious with partial bridges being built all over the place. Talk about bridges to nowhere, VA is it.
I’m not an expert and there may be economy of scale for doing the project like this. But we’re talking large sections undone. I would have thought that one would do one section first and then move on. With incomplete sections of bridges all over the place it almost appears that someone deliberately is trying to see this project continues.
unforseen expenses = poor planning
I have to disagree. I cite the fact that EVERY large construction project that I have ever heard of has gone over budget and the more politically involved it is, the more leeway it seems to have to bust the budget entirely!
In light of the above, my view is that the planners start with the absolutely most optimistic scenarios possible. While they have to budget weather delays, they choose the least possible. While the project is new, they push building portions of the project that make it 'impossible' to remain unfinished. Once that is accomplished, the cost over-runs start to come in.
Looks like the toll road drivers are getting screwed big-time, again (so much for their money just going for the highway - politicians know a gold mine when they see it). I can’t help but snicker at all of the people that moved out there from the DC area, knowing that they’d be hostage to those toll roads. Likewise, I feel sorry for the long-time residents out there that had nothing to do with it.
We don’t discuss it here, but one of Governor Perry’s biggest goals here was to build a HUGE toll road here in Texas (we’re having too much fun with illegals). It was to be massive, the largest land grab in US history (the right of ways were going to be 1200 feet wide, nearly a quarter mile). Fortunately he was (mostly) stopped. But I have to laugh when people call him a conservative.
Big Dig part II.
They need to go ASAP because METRO is no longer well-known for its stellar safety. Yes, right now it's safer than driving on the Capital Beltway, but due to poor maintenance of the METRO, now one never knows what may happen when a person gets in a train.
That's the Metro 5A Express you're talking about there.
Possible overruns? Ya know overruns are an absolute certainty.
The Greenway is privately owned by an Australian hedge fund, so I'm having a hard time figuring out exactly how tolls on the Greenway are being used to fund the Metro extension. That said, they are nasty now - almost $12 round-trip during "peak" hours (rush hour), and the Dulles Toll Road, which is publicly owned, is a totally different story. Those tolls are being used to fund the Metro extension.
Thanks for pointing out how I'm getting screwed every day. At least it wasn't as bad as when I lived in Leesburg and commuted to Tysons - I only have to take the Toll Road now and not the Toll Road and the Greenway. (The Greenway is the really pricey segment.)
That said, I'm a long-time resident. My parents got pushed to the outer suburbs years ago because they couldn't afford to buy a home in this area with only one income as prices skyrocketed. So, instead, they got punished twice: once because they could only rent (the tax code privileges home "owners" with mortgage debt), and twice because they had to commute long distances closer in to the city.
The transportation system here in Northern Virginia is a charlie foxtrot - now you know why I hate the DC area and at some point in the next few years will leave.
Whereever Willie roams, you know he pushes high speed passenger rail.
“Thanks for pointing out how I’m getting screwed every day. At least it wasn’t as bad as when I lived in Leesburg and commuted to Tysons - I only have to take the Toll Road now and not the Toll Road and the Greenway. (The Greenway is the really pricey segment.)”
You’re welcome. I’ve watched the saga and read up on it’s history. From what I could tell, there was some nutcase lady that thought if she built a private toll road beyond Dulles, the people would come. She built it, the road went broke (people will move to an area with bad roads, but they generally will not move to an area that is locked off by a toll road...especially an expensive, private, toll road.
I really started following these things because here in Texas, part of Governor Perry’s original plan was to start tolling our interstate freeways (among lots of other plans with toll roads, some still being imposed on us, unfortunately). He later dropped it...when it was starting to get in the way of his political career, but it started really worrying me. The people in North Indiana got the shaft also when the Governor Daniels sold off the state toll road (I-80) to a private company...which is now starting to turn the screws on the drivers up there (Mitch’s base is Southern Indiana).
I just hate to see the country come to this, given a gas tax increase of a dime pretty much covers all of the deficits that they have to deal with.
That article says nothing about the Metro extension. However, tolls on the DULLES TOLL ROAD are going up to pay for it.