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Wait, another Dulles Greenway toll RAISE???

Discussion in 'General Chat Forum' started by blunoz, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. blunoz

    blunoz Member

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  2. Kevin S

    Kevin S Member

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    I dont understand the outrage?

    The Dulles Toll Road is a privately owned road that offers a significant time savings from public roads in Ashburn. Taking the greenway in the morning saves be at least 30 minutes on my commute, so I ask myself this question "Is 30 min of my time at home with my daughter and wife worth 5 bucks?" the answer for me is a resounding YES! If the answer for you is no, then dont take the greenway. No one is forcing you to take it, there are plenty of public roads that will get you in and out of Ashburn.

    The idea that the public is "up in arms" about a privately owned road that is giving us a commuting option is ridiculous to me. No one is forcing you to take the greenway, but its very nice to have on those days you need it. If taking the greenway is never worth it for you, then get up a half hour earlier and take waxpool to 28. Its as simple as that. Its just like people who complain that their wages are too low, if you are worth more go find a new job, no one is forcing you to work for a wage that you find unacceptable.

    Show your displeasure of the cost hikes by never taking the road. I assure you however that many many people take the greenway daily and its saves them countless hours a week on the roads.
     
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  3. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    Because the state uses the Greedway as a crutch to not provide other access that are not private roads. The public roads in the area are over capacity, there exists too few options, and the greenway's presence allows the state to continue to avoid addressing the topic.

    Second, the private road is not a free enterprise free to charge whatever they want. The agreement that allowed the creation of the private road called for the tolls to be regulated to keep tolls low while allowing the private owner to meet their financial obligations. The law states

    "reasonable to the user in relation to the benefit obtained and which will not material discourage us of the roadway by the public" - You don't think $5 EACH WAY doesn't materially discourage use and is reasonable? Cost per mile it's one of the most expensive toll roads in the country.. and offers no prorated tolls for most of its users.

    The state is failing to scrutinize the claims and operation of the toll road that allow the road owners to paid a picture of financial burden while structuring themselves to make great money while still showing hardship. The state allowed the law to be ammended in 2008 to tie toll rates to CPI increases... adding even more justifications to allow increases.

    Why are people upset? Because our government is not holding up their end of the deal when they passed these laws.
     
  4. Kevin S

    Kevin S Member

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    Flynnibuss,
    Like it or not, the privatization of public means of transportation (roads/highways) will become more and more prevalent in coming decades. Why, because the local and state governments are not capable of turning out a quality product on time and on budget.

    The greenway eases stress on 7, waxpool, and 28 with those drivers not having to pay a thing. As you continue to paint the picture that the greenway's ownership stake is comprised of a bunch of greedy capitalist, that could not be further from the truth. Will the investment pay off? Only time will tell, but if it does its because they offer a service that the consumers want.

    The greenway allows all Loudoun county commuter bus's use of the greenway free of charge, they offered up their median for construction of the dulles rail(metro) project free of charge, saving tens of millions of dollars for the tax payers. The latest increase in tolls is due to the over taxation on the residences and business in this county, not the greed of the ownership stake of the greenway.

    The tax policy of this county is to blame for the latest tolls hikes. Its time to elect fiscal conservatives to our local governments.

    At the end of the day my main statement remains the same, if you think it costs too much, dont use it.
     
  5. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    Kevin - how long have you been watching the Greenway and it's owners?

    Have you been watching it for the last 15+ years as they continually "maintained" the road that added debt... debt that requires interest payments... debt that justifies higher toll revenues? Ever heard of 'running at a loss' to make money? Well here you have running up debt to justify increasing revenues... to pay interest to the bond holders... where the REAL profit is being harvested.

    Are you even aware of where and who the owners are?? or have been?

    If you buy into the 'higher property taxes' excuse.. you are falling for it hook line and sinker.

    I don't - but that doesn't mean it's existance does not impact me. It's presence has a massive impact on the transportation policy of the region. It's operation and the state regulation of it is NOT what the citizens were sold on and people have the right to be upset with that.
     
  6. fidothedog

    fidothedog Member

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    Flynnibus is right.

    An Australian control group owns the Greenway and they have "flipped" the ownership between brother/sister pension entities. This is done as follows:

    1. TRIP II (US entity) owns the actual toll road.
    2. In 2005, Macquire Infrastructure Group (Australian firm) bought TRIP II for around $550 million.
    3. Between 2005 and 2010, TRIP II was flipped several times between Australian pension company's (all under common control) and significantly increased the purchase price each time (with them pocketing the increase) using leveraged debt.
    4. TRIP II uses the increased interest burden as a cost to justify the increases in the tolls that you are paying.

    To understand what they have been doing in 2013, TRIP II listed Greenway assets of $504 and liabilities of $1.026 billion, leaving a “partners’ deficit” of $523 million, according to the 2013 annual report. The road generates revenue of $75 million with $49 million of operating income. After deducting $65 million of interest the road had a net loss of $16 million. Don't be fooled by the net loss, the business generates adequate cash to fund operations and pay all interest.

    Here are the FS: http://static.macquarie.com/dafiles...ortfolio/docs/dulles-financials-dec13.pdf?v=2

    So effectively, you are helping to fund Austrailian pensions via this scheme. The Australian pensions did not build the road, they have just figured out how to "manage" the system and get more tolls from us.

    In 2005, the peak toll rate was $1.90. Currently, the peak toll rate is $4.90. This does not include the toll to use the Dulles Toll Road which was $0.50 in 2005 and $1.00 now.
     
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  7. Kevin S

    Kevin S Member

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    I have been following the greenway for quite some time, and I am well aware that profits are funneled through the bond holders of the company. Its a method used across many spectrum's of business to funnel profits to investors, its nothing new.

    This projects initial cost was north of $300 million dollars, ZERO of those funds came by way of taxpayers dollars. ZERO! This means more money for our children's educations, parks, road upkeep, police and firefighters, ect. The entire revenue risk lays with the investment group. You and I both know that to obtain public funds (taxpayer dollars) for such a venture would be impossible. The greenway did a service to the county by offering a more direct route to where people want to go, without the taxpayer having to pay a dime. If they turn a profit in the process good for them.

    You also did not mention anything about the greenway's generous offer of giving all of their median space to the Dulles rail project free of charge, and allowing mass transit Loudoun County bus's free use of the greenway. Oh and by the way, the Greenway has paid over $34 million dollars in personal property tax since its inception, which is more money for our communities.

    At the end of the day you are upset that they are raising their tolls, that you don't pay. The burden of the added tolls fall directly on the the drivers who make their own personal decision to use the road. This is much more that I can say about the tax system in our county. Think of the tax payers who have no children and plan on having no children who pay $10,000 a year in personally property tax. Of that $10,000; $7,900 + goes to the public schools, is that fair to those taxpayers, no of course not. In this situation the taxpayers have no choice on how their hard earned money is spent, in the greenways situation the individuals have the choice of how they would like to spend their hard earned money.
     
  8. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    Except in other businesses, people are not skirting the industry regulation by claiming poverty while pocketing the profits under the stack of papers.

    Except that wasn't the pretense the road was built under - it's not a free market enterprise.

    You do a good job of reading the talking points off the Greenway's website. Funny you promote heavily how they 'donated' the median to metrorail - yet I'm having trouble finding any press about this generous donation they made. Care to point any out?

    Except the road does not exist in a vacuum - it's presence alters transportation planning for the entire area. The road was proposed as a viable alternative for all - not just those who can throw money at the time problem. The road isn't being operated in the spirit it was built for and the SCC isn't doing their part to enforce that. So yes, people are upset.
     
  9. boomertsfx

    boomertsfx Booyakasha!

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    I think the Greenway might be the most expensive toll road in the country (by cost per mile).... especially for Broadlands residents. From RT28 to Ashburn Village is 5 miles.... so it works out to almost $1 per mile. Hooray for private toll roads, I hope we get more of them! I don't see how anyone can defend the Greenway costs. Even the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel is less than $1/mi! This is just a paved road.
     
  10. Dutchml

    Dutchml Member

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    But it's a great talking point for the politicians around here. "Vote for me, I'll fix it.....blah, blah, blah." And those 3 old geezers on the "Commission" probably don't even know where northern Virginia is, except it's that area up Nawth where all those suckers live that helps pay for all their beautiful highways around Richmond. And Macquarie doesn't care if we don't use it....keeps their maintenance costs down. I hope to see weeds growing up through the fast lane in my lifetime.
     
  11. goofus

    goofus New Member

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    The SCC has been rubber-stamping the rate increases for a very long time. I spoke at one of the hearings last year, and I was one of many who demonstrated that the exorbitant rates do, in fact, discourage use of the road. Furthermore, I elaborated on how the closer you live to the toll plaza, the more you are affected by the lack of distance-based tolls. That is, those of us in Ashburn pay the same toll as someone coming from Leesburg, yet we traverse only half the distance. Anyway, the SCC representative sat on the stage with a blank expression and pretended to listen to everyone as he was obliged to do. I don't recall that he took any notes, and I guess there was really no reason to do so since the whole thing was more or less a charade. The system is rigged thanks to the Macquarie/TRIP II/SCC cabal that's put a stranglehold on all of us. Highway robbery indeed.
     
  12. Mr Rogers

    Mr Rogers Active Member

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    Kevin, the Greenway is a government contractor. If a government contractor was charging $640 for a standard toilet seat that could be purchased at retail for $15, wouldn't you be pissed? I mean, I could always "do my business" somewhere else, right? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_On_Government_Oversight
     
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  13. kevinq

    kevinq Member

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    Because of the Greenway, the county and state are in no hurry to complete alternative roadway connections for this area. The extension of Gloucester Parkway from Loudoun County Parkway to the intersection of Pacific Boulevard and Nokes Boulevard is scheduled for completion in mid-2016. The connection of Loudoun County Parkway to Rt 606 I don't think has even gotten past just being listed on the County Transportation Plan. If the county and state moved quicker to increase the connectivity of the road network in the Broadlands area, the Greenway would be less of a point of contention.
     
  14. Traci

    Traci New Member

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    Flynn, I'm in agreement. FYI the latest statement and petition from David Ramadan for those who are interested in fighting what may be a futile effort, yet one I think worth trying.

    GREENWAY UPDATE

    Dear Friends,

    Please find below a Press Release I issued this morning regarding the latest Greenway toll increase. I need your help in spreading the word and asking all your friends, family, co-workers, everyone you know to sign the online petition -this is going to be along fight:www.LowerGreenwayTolls.com
    I will be updating my official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DelegateDavidRamadan) and Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/DavidIRamadan) with case developments and news. Please ‘like’ my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter to stay up to date.

    Sincerely,
    [​IMG]

    David Ramadan
    Member, House of Delegates
    Eighty-Seventh District
    info@davidramadan.com
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Delegate David Ramadan
    Telephone: 703 348 7015
    E-Mail: info@davidramadan.com

    SCC GRANTS GREENWAY TOLL RATE INCREASE
    Ramadan’s Efforts Delayed Increase from February to April
    Richmond, VA | April 10th, 2014 – Earlier this week, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) issued an order granting the Greenway yet another toll rate increase (from $4.90 to $5.10 during Peak time). The new rate would have taken place on Feb 15th but was delayed due to Delegate David Ramadan’s Motion to Stay the rate increase in February. Virginia code entitles members of the General Assembly to continue any court proceedings 30 days prior to session, during session and until 30 days after session.
    Ramadan is challenging the Greenway and the SCC’s interpretation of code used to grant previous rate increases. His challenge has been joined by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
    “It is unbelievable that in the midst of a major investigation into the practices of the Greenway, the owners of the Greenway would seek yet another rate increase,” said Ramadan. “It is even more unbelievable that the SCC decided to grant the increase prior to our challenge even being heard by the full commission. It clearly demonstrates that the deck is stacked against our commuters, on whose behalf I am fighting. Nevertheless, I am prepared to take my challenge to the Virginia Supreme Court if necessary. This latest increase gives us all the more motivation to continue.”
    In January, the hearing examiner issued a report which will be heard by the full commission in the next couple of months. Delegate Ramadan and Loudoun County are seeking to lower tolls and to impose distance-based pricing on the Greenway.
    Delegate David Ramadan represents the 87th House of Delegates District, which includes eastern Loudoun County and western Prince William County. He currently serves on the oldest & newest committees in the House of Delegates: Privileges & Elections (P&E) and Science & Technology (S&T), as well as General Laws Committee. He serves as the chairman of the P&E Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee. Delegate Ramadan is the co-founder and co-chairman of the Business Development Caucus. He also serves on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.
    ###


    Paid for and Authorized by Friends of David Ramadan
    Copyright © 2013 Friends of David Ramadan, All rights reserved.



    This message was sent to from:
    Del. David Ramadan | 23465 Rock Haven Way #105A | Dulles, VA 20166
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