Loudoun County is at an economic crossroads -- but it could face dire conquences without the planned extension of the Metro's Silver Line, says a new report.
The county stands to lose $72 billion over the next decade without the expansion, said Dr. Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis.
"This region can't survive. It's competitiveness. We are being out-performed," Fuller said at a ticket-only breakfast for the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce and guests, where he announced his findings.
Loudoun County supervisors are unsure whether to contribute more than $150 million to the project, but they'll need to decide by July 4.
"They have not been able to get their arms how that advantage will pay out in terms of the taxpayers' dollars going into the project and what the return on investment will look like," said Tony Howard, president of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.
Swing voters will be key, and Loudoun County Supervisor Suzanne Volpe is among them.
"Plans are for it to go to Wiehle [Avenue] next year, and then with Phase 2, to Herndon-Monroe," she said. "Well, I want to know how much additional money it will cost my constituents to take the bus."
David Larock with Loudoun Opt Out said he was not allowed in the meeting, but he believes Fuller may be influencing supervisors with information that's not credible. "He hasn't released the names of the people of who commissioned the study he's talking about today," he said.
Fuller said developers made a $15,000 contribution for the research to George Mason University. "Well, if you don't like the message you shoot the messenger," Fuller said. "Isn't that always the case?"
The study claims that the Silver Line would spawn 40,000 new professional and business service jobs.
For Doug Palley, the owner of Hooked, a seafood restaurant in the Potomac Run Plaza, there's nothing more promising than that.
"The expansion of the line would probably double our business within a quick period of time," he said.
Fuller said the Metro stations in Loudoun County would draw people in from every direction.