Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Opting Out May Not Take Loudoun County Off the Hook for Silver Line Project

From the Ashburn Patch comes this story... more drama in the quest to bring the Silver Line to Loudoun County.

The biggest revelation Tuesday night regarding Loudoun’s potential participation in Metro’s Silver Line extension appeared to be the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s expectation that the county would cover operation and maintenance costs as well as participate in Metro’s capital program, even if the Board of Supervisors opts out of the project.

WMATA is the entity that operates Metro, while the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is the entity constructing the project. While MWAA, which also controls Dulles Airport and the Dulles Toll Road, has been tasked with construction and will participate in phase two of the Silver Line project, it will not be responsible for operation and maintenance costs.

Shiva Pant, Metro’s chief of staff, first mentioned the airport station costs, noting that the station would be within Loudoun’s borders, despite being in airport property.

“Under our board policy, the subsidy for that one station would be allocated to Loudoun, based on the formula as described,” he said.

The notion irked several board members, including County Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large), who openly supports participation in the project with the caveat that unions are not required and contractors are not rewarded for using them.

“If the Loudoun board so chooses to opt out, opt out means opt out,” York said. “We’ll fight the fact that we’re going to be held that $9 million if we opt out. There is no way we’re going to opt out, but we’re still going to pay.”

More details on the project are online.

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