Letter: Dennis Murphey, Ashburn

Editor:   I live I mile north of Exit 7 off the Greenway. We have been trying to get around our local area for holiday preparations and usual chores. The road work involved in laying out all the fiber bundles has had a serious effect of traffic safety and convenience for local travel.

There is always a gaggle of machinery and equipment around the sites and maybe one or two humans, generally talking. I realize work is getting done, but the pace and the optics for the average passerby is terrible. It is bad enough we are stuck with these eye sores (data centers) for the rest of lives, now we are driving through single-lane traffic around orange cones or barrels while there is absolutely no work being down on that corner. Not one human among all the orange barrels and equipment stationed there. Note: Loudoun Country Parkway and Waxpool Intersection.

Besides the grief in getting to the dry cleaners, grocery, post office etc. etc. I also wanted to ask who is paying for all that fiber optics installation and components? We were told by local representatives that tax revenues are fair. But we have not seen a detailed total cost of ownership, installation and operation of all of this fiber. Are the details of the land sale and licensing for data centers available for citizen review? In our subdivision the roads, parks, street lights etc. were all detailed in the developers’ agreement to develop property. Are such details of costs to the community available and accessible?

We would very much like to see a much more attractive and consistent to Virginia heritage façade on these concrete prison walls showing up all over our region of Loudoun. Frankly, had we required them to be underground with commercial space above ground the community maybe better off. We learned that the proximity to the Mae East terminal is very desirable, too bad we weren’t able to maintain the beauty of Northern Virginia in southern Loudoun while supporting growth of technology enterprises. And as a local resident we sure would have enjoyed shopping, restaurants, and other convenience commercial operations at these desirable locations as well. Look back at the cost benefit to the county, and the residences. Are we confident the data centers are paying their fair share of expenses and inconveniences?

Dennis Murphey, Ashburn

One thought on “Letter: Dennis Murphey, Ashburn

  • 2018-11-27 at 10:34 am

    Just providing portions of the article printed in LoudounNow yesterday indicates that Data Centers more than pay their way and, therefore, reduce residential real estate tax rates.

    Ashburn: A Landscape Transformed by Cloud Computing
    By Rich Miller – November 26, 2018
    $250 Million in Data Center Tax Revenue

    Being the home of the cloud has its benefits. The data center business has been good for Loudoun County, which is the wealthiest county in America by average household income ($134,464), according to the Census Bureau. That robust economy is supported by many factors, including aviation and aerospace, the federal government, and defense contracting.

    Data centers boost construction employment. But they are highly automated, and thus don’t directly create a large number of full-time jobs. The tradeoff is that they generate large amounts of tax revenue and don’t create strain on local schools and traffic.

    In Ashburn, the growth of the data center sector has had an outsized impact on the tax base.

    “This year in Loudoun County we will have a quarter billion dollars of tax revenue from data centers,” said Buddy Rizer, Executive Director of Economic Development. “Data centers are the engine of innovation. They enable a lot of other businesses.”

    More than 20 states now use economic incentives to attract data center projects, yearning to land deals with Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon or Microsoft that would signal their transition to the new digital economy.

    But Virginia has seen a strong return on its investment in data center incentives, according to an economic impact study by Mangum Economics, a Richmond-based research firm. For every dollar in county expenditures, the data center sector provided approximately $9.50 in tax revenue to Loudoun County, and approximately $4.30 in tax revenue to Prince William County, the study concluded.

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