Letter: We’re in Trouble

Letter: We’re in Trouble

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Uh oh. We’re in trouble. All three Democratic contenders for mayor believe a new metro is necessary. They want to put this metro in Potomac Yards very near the new and popular Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes. They think this new metro stop will create more tax revenue because it will attract more tax-paying residents and businesses to Potomac Yards and, by implication, the BRT will not.

Their group-think assertion is beyond shameless. First, it falsely suggests they are interested in making Alexandria business-friendly. If that were the case, they could do this now, and without a new metro.

They could start by stop competing with the private sector, the one that generates tax revenues (e. g., the city operates money-losing businesses that rent bikes and operates a bus service, neither of which pay taxes).

Second, their thinking is plain and simple wrong. Think about it: If metro stations attracted tenants, then there would be no vacancies, especially in commercial buildings, within a mile of the King Street, Braddock and Van Dorn metro stations.

Think about this too: if this wrong-headed idea gets any traction, we taxpayers will be facing the prospect of paying a debt that will surpass the cost of any single project ever undertaken in Alexandria’s long history.

The cost estimates for a new metro in Potomac Yard, all drawn from the city website, run between a quarter-billion to almost three-quarters of a billion dollars, all of which will be borrowed money.

When the debt service is added to these prices, you’re talking about hefty payments that will span generations and which, perforce, will raise your property and business taxes no ifs, ands or buts about it.

And keep in mind too that our city government has not competed a single multi-million dollar project on time and within budget. Every single one has experienced cost overruns; some massive.

Remember: These Democratic candidates for mayor are the very people who brought you one of the most expensive elementary schools in America believing, apparently, the building will better educate its chronically underperforming students; a police palace instead of a police station and a waterfront plan the cost for which has never been ascertained, but is widely accepted to be in the ever-increasing mega-millions.

These candidates do not know how to create wealth; they know only how to spend your money; this time for a half-billion metro stop that is intended to make a new, pricey neighborhood more attractive but at every Alexandria taxpayer’s expense.

If one of them doesn’t come to their senses and breaks away from the wrong headed group-think they’ve all embraced, then all we can do is hope a fiscally sensible person will challenge the eventual Democratic candidate for mayor.

Even if that mystery challenger appears, but especially if one doesn’t step forward, then to protect the taxpayers, we need a cap on how much the City Council can spend without first obtaining public approval. It’s your money after all.

Jimm Roberts