The uncertain fate of the second phase of Metro’s much-anticipated Silver Line could be sealed tomorrow.
The Loudoun County Board of County Supervisors is set to vote Tuesday on whether it wants to chip in the necessary cash to complete the project, which would extend Metrorail service past Washington Dulles International Airport.
The cost: $270 million and an eventual $10 million in annual operating costs.
The deadline to opt in to the project is Wednesday.
The nine-member, Republican-dominated Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has been critical of the high costs of the project, while supporters of the projects say it would bring job and economic development to the area.
Four board members are already on record supporting the project, and on Friday, WAMU reported that Leesburg district supervisor Ken Reid said he would vote yes, potentially giving the board the 5-vote majority needed to pass the spending.
According to The Washington Times, one possible way for Loudoun to fund the project would be to draw a special tax district for commercial properties around the two Metrorail stations slated for construction in Ashburn.
If the board opts not to fund Phase 2, the Metro would only go to Dulles and the two planned stations in Loudon County would not be built.
Simon van Zuylen-Wood’s latest cover story for Washington City Paper adds some color and context to the political battles brewing in the wealthy Northern Virginia county over the Metro extension.
Metro opponents range from staunchly progressive to severely conservative, as Mitt Romney might put it. The same goes for the other side, with smart-growth progressives and Chamber of Commerce Republicans joining forces. Virginia’s most powerful Republican politicians are also divided: Governor Bob McDonnell is in favor; Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is against.
The arguments for rail are fairly straightforward: Young people and commuters want easier access to the city; businesses want to attract customers. “The essence is that the economy with Metrorail…will be quite different than the economy without it,” forecasts ubiquitous George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller. “The difference adds up to be $272.6 billion over 30 years.” The Loudoun Chamber of Commerce is pushing hard for the line.
On the other side, some Loudouners, including Sterling Supervisor Delgaudio, harbor a hatred of public transit that defies geographical allegiance. But for the most part, arguments against the Silver Line are paeans to the county’s rural character, cloaked in the language of fiscal responsibility.
Read the full story here.
Patch Ashburn lists the ways residents can contact their local officials to voice their opinion about the project.
* Check out Mike DeBonis’s map of where the remaining power outages are in D.C. as of late Monday morning.
At a press conference in Southeast D.C. Monday, Mayor Vincent Gray said the public is ‘fed up’ with Pepco and the electric service provider needs to move faster to restore power to the D.C.-area.
* The latest filings show that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney outraised President Obama by $156,000 in donations of $200 or more during May in Virginia, The RTD reports based on an analysis from the Virginia Public Access Project.
Romney raised $547,750 in the state from 515 donors compared to Obama’s $391,745. The totals do not include donations of less than $200, a category in which Obama is likely to be leading.
* A group trying to upend Maryland’s new Congressional map said Monday that it has collected enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot in November.
Led by Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington,) the group, according to The Baltimore Sun, has turned in 65,722 signatures—about 10,000 more than the required amount to bring the issue to voters.
The group argues that state Democrats created conservative counties to retain political dominance in the blue state.
Read more here.
* The dancers of Stadium, a strip club in northeast D.C., will be starring in a new reality show called “Strip Club Queen” set to air in the fall.
According to the Post, a major network has picked up the show, but the show’s creator cannot yet reveal which one.
The Post puts its money on VH1.