Time for Fairfax Supervisors to Recognize Metro Costs

-- 5/18/2016, by Thomas Cranmer, First VP, Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance

I noted in my written remarks to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors on April 5th that the county's subsidy of Metro is likely to go way up.

On May 12, the Washington Times' front page confirmed this: "Metro faces $18B budget shortfall in next decade." That is $1.8 billion per year EXTRA. The current annual subsidy from all the counties and DC is $844 million. The extra amount of subsidy required is 2.13 times the current annual subsidy rate.

The long article pointed out that the current annual Fairfax subsidy is $118 million, which is $106 per man, woman and child in Fairfax. The extra subsidy would be $226 million (2.13 times $106). The total subsidy would be $332. A family of four would pay $1,328 to subsidize a small number of neighbors who take the Metro.

Fairfax' proposed budget this year had a deficit of nearly $100 million. The deficit next year is likely to be similar. So for next year add $100 million plus the extra Metro subsidy of $226 million, Fairfax would have a deficit of over $300 million. This is huge.

Think of the increase in your residential taxes this year. Mine was 5.4%. So next year they will hit me with another 5.4% for the normal increases in pay, mostly for salaries and benefits, plus another 11.5% (2.13 times 5.4) for the Metro, making a total tax increase of nearly 17%.

When politicians control pricing of services under socialist ownership of facilities, they try to keep the charge for services low to avoid voter rebellion. Then due to a cash deficit they don't maintain the facilities for the services, and hope the breakdowns occur on someone else's watch. The current crop of politicians is having difficulty facing the reality of historically not pricing fares to cover costs of operations, maintenance and capital replacement. They'll have to hit taxpayers with much higher taxes and try to hide the reasons and amounts of taxes. Otherwise the Metro would continue to collapse.

Taxpayers should pay attention to political mismanagement in the future.