Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Opinion: In economic forecasting, caveat emptor, Barbara Hollingsworth, Washington Examiner, May 22, 2012

This opinion piece looks at the questionable record of GMU's Center for Regional Analysis in looking at the region's economic future.  In the middle of the article, it says,

Yet in a May 9 paper titled "The Impact of Metrorail on Loudoun County's Economic Future," Fuller confidently predicts Loudoun County will miss out on $72.2 billion in economic development between 2020 and 2030 if supervisors don't approve Phase 2 of the Silver Line by July 4.
Not everyone shares Fuller's rosy outlook on the project. One former Federal Transit Administration economist believes the Metrorail extension will "do little for economic development, either at the airport or in the county, since relatively few people will ride it."
And in a white paper for the Reston Citizens Association, which favors the Metrorail extension, retired federal economist Terry Maynard warned that "skyrocketing tolls [on the Dulles Toll Road] will limit or possibly even reverse the projected economic growth along the Dulles Corridor stimulated by the Silver Line."
Maynard maintains Fuller's study is based on wild economic assumptions compared with those found in his own group's 2011 workforce housing study. "All the benefits [in both build and no-build scenarios] are exaggerated upwards by about two-thirds," he says.
In a phone interview with The Washington Examiner, Fuller said he "can't be blamed for the forecast" because "I didn't do the forecast." Fuller says he relied in his study on work done by Global Insight, a private forecasting firm, for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. But like all crystal ball readers, Global Insight does not have a perfect track record. "They didn't call the recession right," Fuller admitted. . . .
Click here for the rest of this Examiner opinion piece.

Too many times GMU CRA has leaned to the wishes of its key financial source, the region's development community--especially "The 2030 Group", in making its forecasts, only to be caught short later when it tries to do some serious economic analysis--such as its workforce study last October.  While pushing the blame off on its contractor, IHS Global Insight, GMU CRA is the entity that publishes the results and apparently doesn't vet those results, accepting the accolades when their right and blaming Global Insight when they're wrong.

Not much integrity there.

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