Republican candidate for Broad Run supervisor, Ron Meyer, has a plan to confiscate private business, condemn private property, and raise your taxes, all in the name of free stuff for everyone from the government. You see, he thinks the solution to the Greenway being overpriced is to build more roads (who knew transportation problems could be solved with roads, eh?). Specifically, he says he wants to connect Shellhorn Road (which ends at Loudoun County Parkway) to Sterling Blvd (which ends at Pacific Blvd).
Well, there are few problems with that. One is the piece of private property informally known in Loudoun county as the “Antigone” parcel (after Chris Antigone, one of the partners that owns it). You can’t get from the east end of Shellhorn to the west end of Sterling without going through the middle of the Antigone parcel:
That alone means Meyer’s idea is pure science fiction, but there are still more problems with his plan. After Meyer has convinced four other supervisors to condemn Chris Antigone’s land, he still has to cope with the industrial commercial operations that are immediately west of Pacific, and still east of Antigone. Meyer must think these businesses can be bulldozed out of the way of his magic road:
Now, Meyer never says a word in the Leesburg Today interview about how he’s going to pay for the road, the condemnations he’ll need for the right of way, or the cost of relocating all those existing uses. And that’s before one considers that his road would have to cross Broad Run, not just dry, flat land. We’re talking many millions of dollars here, but ignore that for now. Meyer says the benefits would be so many that, perhaps, he thinks cost is a trivial issue.
The benefits? First, according to Leesburg Today, he says, “his goal is to take enough commuters off the toll road to force Greenway owner and operator Toll Road Investors Partnership II to come to the negotiating table and either sell the road or institute graduated tolls.” Sell the road? To whom? Loudoun County? For how much? And, if we bought it, how does Meyer know we could operate it for less than TRIP II does? And, whether he buys it or forces TRIP II to move to graduated tolls, what’s the gain? That we all start using the Greenway again? Does that justify a massively expensive project we’d end up not using, while condemning huge amounts of private property and disrupting numerous businesses?
Never. Going. To happen.
I know Chris Antigone. He’s a decent guy, but he wants that parcel used for a convention center. It’s a brilliant idea that, if done with some cooperation from MWAA, might even allow visitors to land at Dulles International, walk onto the Metro, go one stop, and walk off into the lobby of their hotel. I haven’t spoken to him about it, but I doubt he’ll give up that dream in exchange for a freeway down the middle of his land. (Not to mention what a lost opportunity for prosperity that would be to Loudoun county.)
All of this just can’t be the thinking of a Republican. So what is Ron Meyer’s real political persuasion? The article offers a powerful clue, when it reports the other great benefit Meyer says this will include:
Meyer proposes extending Shellhorn Road to connect to Sterling Boulevard and create one path all the way to Rt. 28. That would almost parallel the Greenway and, he said, ‘give commuters a local, free alternative’ to the toll road.
Aha! The truth seeps out! Ron Meyer is a Socialist. He is everything Ayn Rand’s great champion of prosperity, John Galt, knew was wrong with trying to make a profit by passing a law. He wants to give you a better world for free. Who is the only party to suffer here? Meyer tells us:
‘This road—along with current projects widening Route 28 and finishing Gloucester Parkway—will take thousands of cars off the Greenway and heavily cut into their profits, Meyer said in a prepared statement.
Of course! Evil corporations must be made to pay for all the free stuff The People have the right to expect for nothing. Who cares if the board of supervisors bankrupts one of the biggest taxpayers in the county?
As absurd and unbelievable as all this is, it apparently actually is Ron Meyer’s platform. His enormous road signs all say, “Build Greenway Alternatives.” (They do not say, “Raise Taxes / Condemn Land / Kill Businesses,” but maybe that’s on the back).
Now, mixed into all this nonsense actually is a small piece of the real solution to the Greenway tolls: distance-based pricing. But nothing Ron Meyer or the Loudoun board of supervisors can do will bring that about. I know. We tried. The toll structure on the Greenway is regulated by the State Corporation Commission, which, in turn, is under the jurisdiction of the state legislature. While David Ramadan was doing all he could to ruin the state’s relationship with the Greenway’s operators, what he should have been doing was passing legislation to extend a low-interest loan to the Greenway to cover the cost of adding toll machines and new software to implement distance-based pricing. Increased use by short-haul users would allow them to pay off the loan and, assuming the use continued after that, TRIP II would actually start making a bit more money (or, just maybe, the SCC would hold off the next toll increase for a few years). That’s a public/private partnership that could work, requires no new construction, no condemnation, and helps a local business continue to operate and provide a service.
Only a Socialist could possibly find anything wrong with that.