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Frank Wolf has just released a damning indictment of MWAA’s crooked accounting and business practices. How can our BOS continue to pursue rail under these conditions? Thank God at least one of our elected officials is standing up and looking out for the Loudoun public at large. It is a shame that none of our elected ‘conservatives’ on the BOS, have not been able to find a voice as clear as Congressman Wolf …

Dear Secretary LaHood:

I am deeply troubled by the findings released today in the interim report from the department’s Inspector General (IG) on the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (WMAA) Board of Directors. I requested this audit last year and am sure you agree that the report raises significant concerns about the current board’s policies and procedures, including contracting practices, ethics and transparency. This demands immediate action.

Most egregious are the IG’s findings about MWAA’s contracting practices. The report notes that in many cases MWAA failed to even abide by its own established contracting procedures, which already fall short of industry standards. Particularly concerning are the number of sole source contracts issued. As you know, MWAA is required by law to fully compete any contract over $200,000, with limited exceptions. Yet the IG’s report states that “[d]uring the period of our review, MWAA awarded five sole source contracts that were over $200,000, but did not fall under any of MWAA’s categorical exemptions. These contract awards, which amount to $6 million, did not have Board approval.” Not only did MWAA abuse the exemptions permitted under federal law, they issued numerous contracts that failed to meet even these basic standards.

The report points out that while MWAA’s Contracting Manual says some exemptions are allowed, but “comprise only a small portion of MWAA’s contracts and their dollar value,” the IG found that the use of exemptions “has amounted to 40 percent of the Authority’s $589 million in contract awards during the period of our review.”

The rest of the letter only gets worse, the rest of it can be found here. Scott York, Ralph Buona, Shawn Williams and Matt Letourneau are hellbent on hitching us to the MWAA/WMATA plow. Please call or write to these men and try to talk some sense into them. Time is running out for Loudoun.

Supervisor Clark asks a simple question, “How much is this going to cost the Loudoun Tax payer?” Chairman York fails to make the distinction between cost and reasonable cost. It seems that Chairman York does not care. This is outrageous, it is the Loudoun taxpayer’s money, Mr York.

Chairman York then tries to demean Supervisor Clark by trying to compare building a school with paying WMATA and its Union forever. Mr. York not only failed, but he made a fool of himself to boot. This is classic York. He is utterly ruthless and has no regard for the facts. Then, York acts surprised when called to task for his bad behavior. Mr York’s retirement from public office is long overdue Loudoun. When are we going to learn? Loudoun County has been duped once again by this charlatan.

Mr. York, the studies show that ridership on metro will not lessen traffic in Loudoun. During the meeting, Supervisor Reid was quoting pages from these studies earlier that very same evening York went ape on Supervisor Clark. Here again, Mr. York ignores any and all data that does not support his stated goal of bringing rail to Loudoun.

Rail supporters and even WMATA all agree rail will still come to Dulles Airport, even if Loudoun Co. does opt-out of this incredibly costly deal. A deal that appears to cost more and more every time it is revisited or discussed. Loudoun’s share of the Capital Improvement Costs that run currently 13 Billion Dollars, is an unknown that would give pause to any reasonable executive who has the public trust. Yet, York refuses to take this under consideration. Why? This only makes people wonder all the more, “What is the really driving Mr. York here?”

Why is Loudoun County considering spending a fortune on rail? Proponents claim it will bring business to our county. But at what cost? What will happen to property taxes? How much debt will Loudoun incur? What is Loudoun’s part in subsidizing WMATA? These questions cannot be answered yet as the needed information, for an informed decision, does not yet exist.

The eye-popping figure of $2.5B to $3.5B is the price for a commuter line to Loudoun with stations at Dulles Airport, Old Ox Rd. and Ryan Rd which is only Part II of the program.

Who currently owns properties that will benefit most from these public infrastructure upgrades? Moorefield Station will be zoned for 1500 units without rail. With rail, it will be zoned for 6000 units. The people of Loudoun are being used to finance these capital improvements. Normally a tax district for such public works is established so that those who benefit the most will bear some of the burden directly. York and some on the BOS prefer instead to cut from one program so that he can the throw this venture’s costs onto the back of the Loudoun taxpayer. The figure may grow if union set asides are not rejected. Yet, with all these unanswered questions and no tax district, Chairman York claims this is good for Loudoun?

The debt service for WMATA is currently unknown. Wolf has called for an audit, the report is due in May. York is resolved to give WMATA Loudoun’s buy-in by July despite not knowing what will be our share of this debt burden or its size? The MD-DC-VA Metro system is 35 years old, it is falling apart, the reports of escalators failing and trains breaking down are but the tip of the iceberg. The BOS does not know the overhaul cost of the system. The BOS should not sign on until after the price tag has been explained and the public been given time to determine if the service is worth the price. On April 17th WMATA makes a presentation at 7PM to the BOS to address some, but not all of the issues. Public input follows in May and a vote has to happen by July? The rush is reminiscent of the CBPO boondoggle, where York jumped ship.

If Loudoun has to raise $300M in bonds to pay for its share of the Silver Line costs, it will cost $17M per year to service the bond, assuming a 30-year bond at 5%. Such a bond would lead to a two cent hike in the property tax. The total price tag could be far higher. Currently bond service is divorced from ridership for all of Metro. With a population of 310,000, Loudoun does not have enough potential rail commuter demand to justify all these potential expenses. Currently, Fairfax subsidizes the cost of the rail lines to the tune of $0.58 for every dollar spent. Given Fairfax has 1.1M people, it is likely the Loudoun subsidy will need to be far higher. York, who claims this is a good idea, has not yet exercised proper due diligence in this matter. MD-DC-VA-Metro rail has been a money pit since its inception. How is Loudoun’s joining that failed venture a good idea? How is an increased tax burden going to bring business to Loudoun?

Driving the Dulles Toll road, you can see office buildings on both sides of the road from Tysons to Reston to Herndon. Loudoun has become the bedroom community for Fairfax. The Dulles corridor was built up without the help of a rail line. In Reston town center you will find bus stops, but no train station. Rail is coming to Reston and Herndon. First came the roads, then the office buildings, the town center business parks and the restaurants and shops to service these enterprises. Then comes the rail. This robust development is the result of professional community planning that is logical, has vision, and adds the most expensive elements once there is a business base in place to shoulder the cost.

We are 20 years behind Fairfax because, under Chairman York, the BOS’s engaged in unprofessional and unpredictable community planning. First came the homes without roads. Then came the Democrat-dominated board in 2007, that was actively hostile to business. These Democrats were publicly endorsed by Chairman York. This last board raised business taxes, resulting in a loss of businesses in Loudoun. With the business community collapsing, the York protegees decided that the most pressing business was to enact the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance? Today you can see where the Fairfax County border is on VA28 and US50 very clearly. It is where the office buildings and business parks suddenly end. Such is the legacy of York’s leadership the past 12+ years as Chairman of the BOS.

Will York stop the current rush to Rail? First Loudoun needs some solid community planning, a business friendly climate, and a professional, predictable process for business development. When the Greenway from Dulles to Leesburg begins to resemble the Toll Road corridor between Reston and Herndon, and when VA28 north of Dulles has the office density that one sees in Chantilly, then it will be time to consider Metro rail. Right now, Mr. York, that consideration is still years away.