A few recent items on the Metro to Dulles debacle, which appears to be worsening by the day.
1. According to Leesburg Today, Loudoun County supervisors are not pleased that the price tag for the project has soared by more than $1 billion, and have “made it starkly clear to the MWAA staff that they are unwilling to pay for [an underground station at Dulles Airport].” Also of note:
Loudoun’s obligation doesn’t kick in until Phase II and, technically, the Board of Supervisors still has an opportunity to opt out entirely. That is a conversation for which some supervisors have pushed and could be held next month when the MWAA team returns to Leesburg to provide a more detailed cost breakdown on the Phase II work…
2. Along these same lines, WAMU reports, “Cost estimates continue to rise for the second phase of the Dulles Metrorail project” and “now Loudoun County may withdraw its share of the funding for the project.” According to Supervisor Stevens Miller, “a majority of his colleagues on the Board think the cost of the so-called Silver Line is no longer worth it.” What happens if Loudoun County withdraws its funding for this project? “…it’s unclear what would happen next — whether the Silver Line would simply end at Dulles Airport, or whether the entire second phase of the project, from Herndon out to the airport and beyond, would fall through.”
3. The Washington Examiner reports that completion of the “Silver Line” has been delayed from 2016 until “the summer of 2017.”
4. The airport authority is being scrutinized by state and Congressional officials for its “practices.” Also, the Washington Post reports, “The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has been bitterly divided over the leading candidate to be its next leader, Nathaniel P. Ford, chief of San Francisco’s transit authority.”
5. DC StreetsBlog asks whether building Metro out to Dulles will produce sprawl just like highways do.
In sum, this project is taking longer than it was supposed to, is costing a lot more than it was supposed to, is in jeopardy of losing funding, is becoming increasingly contentious, may never be completed, and will almost certainly not produce the benefits that had been touted by leading proponents when they were pushing for it. Other than that, it’s going great! (not to mention, why are pouring money into expanding Metro when the current system is totally strapped for resources and is falling apart? duhhhhh)
Oh, and don’t say this is Monday Morning Quarterbacking, because we warned about a lot of this during the debate over the “Tysons Tunnel,” the no-bid contract for Bechtel, and the entire concept of building Metro through a relatively low-density population corridor as opposed to focusing transit dollars in the highest-density areas (e.g., the inner suburbs). So, who was behind this stupid idea again? Hmmmm.