Sunday, September 18, 2005

Marshall Blasts Dulles Toll Road Plan

Del. Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, has blasted a proposal to lease the Dulles Toll Road to private investors for $1 billion, an a column in the Washington Post. Among the points he made is that the offer submitted by a private investor group significantly undervalues the property. I have no way to tell whether Marshall's appraisal of the price is right or wrong, but I do think he has makes one valid point:

"I have asked the Virginia General Assembly's Joint Legislative Review and Audit Commission to analyze how the state should calculate the current replacement costs of the Dulles Toll Road. No state-owned facility should be mortgaged because Metro myopia has afflicted politicians and their campaign donors."

I would go one step further: Given widespread talk about privatizing other state highways, the General Assembly had better develop an objective methodology for valuing all state transportation assets.


At 7:35 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

"Some 350k tolls a day are collected with most motorists paying tolls at a mainline plaza (about 200k/day) and at a ramp plaza (150k/day).

Toll revenues were $41m in the year before the recent toll rate increases. They are presently running at around $60m/year. This is very similar to the revenues being generated by the Chicago Skyway which was privatized for 99 years by the City in January this year for a $1.83b concession fee. The Cintra-Macquarie joint venture which has the concession in Chicago has the right to raise tolls in line with inflation or GDP. Tolls are $2.50 there for cars.

In the DTR's favor it serves a far wealthier set of communities in northern Virginia than the Chicago Skyway which is on the poorer industrial side of Chicago. "

If the tolls are similar to those collected in Chicago, why is the DTR sale being considered at $0.83 Billion less?

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

From the same website, this is interesting, too.

"The DTR started in the 1980s with a heavy eastbound flow mornings towards jobs in Arlington and the District but development out west has been so strong in the years since that it now has almost balanced flows east and westbound at the mainline toll plaza just west of Tysons Corner."

At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Toll Road has been proposed for transfer at a low price simply as a means for Virginia to fund its share of Metrorail's expansion because that is necessary for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to rezone Tysons Corner. There's no need for the purchasing syndicate to pay any more than is necessary to ensure the rail can be built.

Rezoning Tysons Corner would bring billions in profits for the current landowners who donate heavily to the incumbent Supervisors. In fact, as many people are already aware, Fairfax's Chairman of the Board of Supervisors is employed by SAIC, which is one of the Tysons Corner landowners that would be given permission to tear down its office building for denser redevelopment. Some accounts indicate that SAIC might make $2-3 billion as a result of rezoning. Just before leaving for a private law practice, the former county attorney ruled that this was not a conflict of interest.
Whoever wins the Virginia Attorney General's position should convene a grand jury to investigate the Supervisors, regardless of party. Fairfax County government is now right up there with the Chicago and New Jersey politicos.


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