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Loudoun Board Metro Rail Naysayer May Vote Yes, If Money Is Also Planned For Roads

10:26 PM, Jun 7, 2012   |    comments
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LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va.  (WUSA) Building metro rail past Dulles airport and into Loudoun county will bring huge economic gains to Loudoun County, Including some 40,000 jobs over 20 years, say economist Stephen Fuller who calls it's a "No brainer.".

But Loudoun Board member Ken Reid, Leesburg District Supervisor,  doesn't buy it.

"Unfortunately, there are a lot of people, especially in the Ashburn area, who have stars in their eyes and they think it's going to improve their real estate values and bring all these great jobs and we're going to l have little Bethesda. But that's very speculative," said Reid.

Reid thinks ridership will be low, that the rail won't solve traffic congestion, and most Loudoun County residents won't use it. And, he dislikes being connected to Metro, and all of it's problems and costs.

"Their bus and train operators are paid an average of $66,000 a year and some of these folks are making six figures with overtime. That's more than we pay our teachers," said Reid.

If Loudoun opts out, Loudoun commuters could access other stations like the one to be built at Route 28. They would not want to park at the Metro Station to be built at Dulles because it costs $17 a day.

The Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority says there's no room to built another garage for commuters. Airports Authority CEO Jack Potter hopes Loudoun joins in.

"What they get is development around the station, convenience for the people who live in Loudoun to access the Metro to get to work and Washington and all the jobs there," said Potter.

There's still hope for Metro into Loudoun, even with naysayers like Ken Reid, if there's money for roads in the plan.

"If we can set aside a special fund that would include highway projects and our buses, then I could support that, maybe," said Reid.

That would involve a tax hike, which is never an easy task. Reid blames for former Loudoun Board for not securing a dedicated funding source like Fairfax County did with the business tax district along the Toll Road.

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