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Spend It Like It’s Your Own | Business

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Spend It Like It’s Your Own
Spend It Like It’s Your Own

You may have heard that tempers are flaring over the planned metro station at Dulles. According to news reports, the board at Dulles International Airport stands behind its decision to build an underground station because it would be more 1) convenient for travelers, and 2) attractive than an above ground station.

So, it behooves us to ask about the degree of perceived inconvenience. How would using an above ground metro station compare with:

  • Taking the shuttle from long-term parking lots?
  • Walking over from the parking garages?
  • The aesthetics of the existing parking structures?

Okay, it’s time for a dose of reality. It’s probably safe to say that people affected by the economic downturn object to paying a multimillion-dollar premium for aesthetics.

I do care about functionality, though. The primary question we need to have answered is this: Would members of the board make the same decision if the money were coming out of their own pockets? If not, then it’s wholly irresponsible of them to spend the extra $300 million.

As someone who uses the toll road on a regular basis, it certainly comes out of mine. And my neighbors’. It seems a little wonky that we should pay so much extra for an underground station when there’s a functional alternative.

My guess is that the walk from the proposed above ground metro station would be no more inconvenient than parking your car in either the long- or short-term lots. I have done both. A lot. For $300 million in savings, I’m willing to keep walking. In fact, an above ground metro station would save me even more. Taking metro would be a whole lot cheaper than leaving my car in the lot for a few days.

By Marcia Moran