- (Photo: Facebook)
Should our Metrorail system expand to Dulles as part of a new Silver Line stretch? A grassroots resistance has developed in Loudoun County, Virginia, where some opponents point to the higher tolls and taxes and waste they see as likely rather than the vision of advocates, who say any rail will return more revenue in the long run. This tension was again on display last night at a Loudoun County Board of Supervisors hearing as opponents trotted out their number-one mascot — the Tax Pig.
Yes, the Tax Pig. This creature has quietly grown into full articulation over recent months and exists primarily to oppose the Silver Line's second phase, which will cost Loudoun County more than a quarter billion dollars in investment. The rail would stretch from Reston past Dulles in phase 2 and would hopefully open in 2016. Hence we have the Tax Pig. Here's a photo of the beast from last night at a gathering that attracted hundreds.
Even more astounding is the fact that this Tax Pig is a member of Facebook and has 263 Facebook friends. Here's what we can glean from the pig's social media presence:
• The Tax Pig is in a relationship ... but it's complicated.
• It lives in Hamilton, Virginia, and says it's from Purcellville.
• Ronald Reagan is a hero to this pig, who includes the former president's words among his favorite quotations. He has only one interest: the Constitution. One of his activities is politics, linked to the Loudoun County Tea Party. Television choices range from Man vs. Wild to Fox News Channel. And of course Babe is a favorite movie.
• "I've been compared to a super hero, but for me it is just doing what I love most and it is never boaring," the Tax Pig explains. "Pork-Watch 24/7 man, I never sleep. If you see something I should know about you can be a sort of deputy and just let me know, I'll slip into my hero cape and I'm on it. Because I don't like it when Big Govt gives Pork a bad name!"
• The pig has been on Facebook since at least early last fall.
Imagine that ... the anti-Metro Tax Pig. The mascot underscores the absurdities surrounding the Silver Line circus of the past year, with the funding and support for phase two in what seems like constant jeopardy. The line's second phase would have the virtue of connecting D.C. with Dulles airport, but the opposition in Loudoun County has grown fierce among a certain set. There are now "No Metro Tax" bumper stickers and yard signs. Prominent among the opponents are the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance and Loudoun Opt Out. These groups see the introduction of WMATA as an emotional as much as financial issue, one that would encroach on liberty. Their passion doesn't quite position them to edge out supporters of the Dulles Metrorail project, which according to accounts, outnumbered the opponents last night and wore green shirts touting "Loudoun Rail Now," as WAMU reports. As the county's deadline on the project nears, the emotion continues to rise and become all the more ridiculous as supporters and detractors rally with shirts and yard signs and advertising and stunts like the Tax Pig. Loudoun will ultimately have to decide by July 4 whether it's going to invest its millions in expanding the rail to the six phase-two stations.
Friends of the pig worry about costs. Thomas Cranmer of the Taxpayers Alliance as well as Loudoun Opt Out warns of $22 tolls in his testimony on the project: