Loudoun County's elected officials have not decided whether they are willing to commit to the $270 million it will cost the county to help bring Metrorail service to Dulles and two stops in the county.
The issue is how to pay for it.
Loudoun County's Board of Supervisors met again Monday night to try to hammer out a financing plan.
"I don't think it's a question of whether rail is a good, viable transportation alternative," says the board's vice chairman, Janet Clarke. "But there were not prior systems set up to accrue any monies to fund this project. So we need to figure it out."
Loudoun County's Board of Supervisors is staring at a July 4 deadline to hop on or stay off.
"And in fact, I don't think this board is going to be able to decide on how we're going to do that in the next two weeks or three weeks," says supervisor Geary Higgins. "So are we going to vote to opt-in before we know how we're going to fund it? I'm not going to vote to opt in until we know how to fund it."
They are considering special taxing districts around the two stations proposed for Loudoun County. Also, a countywide tax and monies from the county's gas tax.
"The bottom line right now, you can argue over a few dollars, but we've got to figure out a way to come up with $1.2 billion to pay Loudoun's share over the next 30 years," Higgins says. "To me, that's an awful lot of money."
But not too much for officials who want the county to pony up for the Silver Line's Phase II.
"You know this is going to be a great investment in the county," says supervisor Shawn Williams, whose district both Metro stations would be located. "I think what we'd like to do in Loudoun is become less of a bedroom community and then actually be attractive to corporations. It would significantly help our tax base. We'll be able to pay for more roads, we'd be able to pay for more schools, we would be able to help our infrastructure. So I think this is a great investment for the county. And I hope we get the right decision made here."
If it's ultimately a "yes" vote, the goal would be to get Metrorail to Dulles and beyond by 2018.
"I think being able to get access into the city is going to become harder and harder as the years go by," supervisor Clarke explains. "Because population is not going to stop growing. We know we're in a favored region, so that's clear. The question is just how can we make this work to be the best possible transportation solution for the county."
Phase I of the Silver Line, through Tysons Corner and on to Reston, is expected to be up and running by the end of next year.
The federal government is helping to pay for that, but not Phase II.
Loudoun County Board of Supervisors debate ways to fund Metro Silver LineMore>>