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RCA Study--Wilbur Smith Traffic & Revenue Forecasts--012712

RCA Study--Wilbur Smith Traffic & Revenue Forecasts--012712

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Published by: Terry Maynard on Jan 27, 2012
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Reston Citizens Association
January 27,
Wilbur Smith Associates’Traffic and Revenue Forecasts:
Plenty of Room for Error 
Reston Citizens Association
1January 25, 2012The Honorable Bob McDonnell, Governor, Commonwealth of VirginiaThe Honorable Victor Mendez, Administrator, Federal Highway AdministrationThe Honorable Sharon Bulova, Chairman, Fairfax County Board of SupervisorsThe Honorable Scott York, Chairman, Loudoun County Board of SupervisorsMr. Michael Curto, Chairman, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority BoardDear Honorable Lady and Gentlemen,The Reston Citizens Association (RCA) is pleased to provide you the attached analysis of the traffic andrevenue (T&R) forecasts of Wilbur Smith Associates, Inc. (WSA), now known as CDMSmith, approved bythe RCA Board on January 23, 2012. Our examination indicates that WSA has made many very largeerrors in its forecasts that have been costly to investors, bondholders, governments, and toll road userswho have relied on them to approve construction of major toll road projects.As our recommendations propose, we believe that it is imperative that a second, independent T&Rforecast be completed by another forecasting group before any decision is made to move forward withthe construction of Phase 2 of the Silver Line. We recommend that the Virginia Department of Transportation take on that task given its expertise and the intention of the Commonwealth to provide$150 million of state tax revenues to help finance Phase 2 Silver Line construction.
At the same time, we call upon the “funding partners”—
MWAA and Fairfax and Loudoun counties
todefer any decision to proceed with Phase 2 until that independent analysis has been completed andsubstantive differences between the two studies resolved. We also ask that they make the upcomingWSA T&R forecast and the Virginia-sponsored study available to the public as soon as possible, andengage the public in discussion about the merits and means of proceeding before any decision is made.Finally, we believe the federal government, specifically the Federal Highway Administration, has a longerterm obligation to develop through an open and inclu
sive process a set of “best practices” for T&R
forecasting that will set regulatory standards fort federal funding
grants, loans, and guarantees
of tollroad and other road infrastructure projects.

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