The rail system can be economically worthwhile, without tax support, if certain conditions are met. These conditions are derived (logically deduced) from the analysis presented in the Discussion section of this report. The conditions are:
1. The population density within 0.25 miles of each of the six residential stations must be 101 people per acre. If there is one non-rider per rider, the total population density around the station must be at least 203 people per acre. If there are two people per dwelling unit, there would be 101 dwelling units per acre. If
each dwelling had a floor plan of 1000 sq.ft.per person and 50% of the
land area was covered by buildings, the buildings would be 9 stories
high. Each station would board 14,167 riders per day. (The computations are in Appendix A.)
2. For every station surrounded by businesses with a FAR of 2 and 300 sq.ft. per person, workers
would be accommodated, the equivalent of 2.5 stations surrounded by
residential units. If only 30% ride the rail system, one business
station could provide enough employment for 0.75 residential stations. Mixing residential and commercial units at a single station will take away from the support of the rail system. Mixing
units is clearly a better economic strategy than rail because the
residents will walk to work, no rail will be needed, and the potential
riders would save the most.
3. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) used 85,000, which value we used in this report..
4. If the costs are borne by the beneficiaries in proportion to their benefit, the following split is equitable:
$8.18 average daily fare for rail riders on the Silver Line extention past East Falls Church
$0.40 daily toll for toll-road drivers
77% of the increase in land value near the Metro must be paid as a tax by the owners
Metrorail fare structure would call for an average daily (round trip)
fare of $8.88, varying from $2.92 to $14.28, depending on distance
Supplementary EIS shows an increase in automotive pollution due to the
Dulles rail system because more cars will be on the road. Although
$10 per day seems excessive, the rider will save money relative to
driving to work, if the next three conditions are met.
Commercial-property owners must not build parking space to accommodate
rail riders, so that the business owners save construction costs that
can be passed to the rider.
7. The rider must forego owning an automobile and a house with a garage. The rider's spouse may own a car and a garage at the house. The rider saves money by not owning the one automobile and the garage it requires. This saving more than offsets what the rider pays for the rail fare.
8. Street parking and parking-lot parking must not accommodate the automobile the rider might otherwise own. Because 90% of the riders live within 0.25 miles of a station, this characteristic is not severely restricting. If such parking were permitted, the rider would not save on a garage cost because he could use this free parking.
Present plans do not meet several of these conditions. There
is no rush by developers to build housing with such limited parking
space and by businesses to build office buildings with fewer parking
spaces. Many of the commercial buildings are already built; therefore, the owners would realize no cost saving.
The foregoing is based on having no taxpayer subsidy (called a government subsidy) for the rail system. There is little logical reason to provide such a subsidy because the three classes of beneficiaries can carry the cost. Construction
costs would be paid not by taxes but by, for example, a rail-revenue
bond similar to the highway bonds issued in the past. Although
plans call for most of the construction cost to be borne by the Federal
and State governments, these monies are taken from those who do not
benefit; therefore, they are unfair (Appendix C).
The foregoing is also based on no escalation of construction costs. Projects of this type frequently have cost overruns of 100% to 200%. The fare must be increased to compensate for any such escalation.
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