Will Reston See Special Tax to Pay for Transportation Improvements?

by Karen Goff February 9, 2016 at 2:45 pm 25 Comments

Traffic on Reston Parkway/Credit: Reston 2020County officials say Reston is going to need more than $2.6 billion in transportation improvements to keep up with development and population growth in the next 40 years.

How to pay for them? For the first time, the word “Reston Special Tax District” has been mentioned.

County transportation and planning officials have not itemized what the improvements will be, but said in a recent presentation that Reston roadway improvements (overpasses, widening, extensions, and interchanges) will cost $1.28 billion. Intersection projects will cost $65 million and the enhanced grid network will cost $1.28 billion, the report said.

According to the presentation (see below) by the Fairfax County Transportation Department to Fairfax County’s Reston Network Analysis & Funding Plan Advisory Group, money to pay for those infrastructure improvements may come from a wide array of sources. Among them: developer proffers, taxes, bonds, federal transportation grants and state funding, as well as a potential county meals tax.

But the concept of a special tax district for Reston’s roads is a new one.

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins says a special tax district is just one of the “tools we are exploring in transportation improvements. We have done it with rail; we are doing it in Tysons.”

Tysons has a special tax district in place since 2013. Businesses and residents of Tysons are taxed in order to help raise about $810 million of the estimated $3.1 billion necessary for longterm changes. The Tysons Special Tax  for FY2016 is $0.05 per $100 of assessed real estate value.

In the county’s presentation, it shows an example of a Reston Service District in which businesses and residents would be taxed $0.01 per $100 of assessed property value.

A special tax district can be put in place by the Board of Supervisors and does not require landowner approval.

An additional tax might not sit well with Reston residents who already pay Fairfax County taxes, Reston Association annual assessments, taxes for Special Tax District 5 (which funds the Reston Community Center), and, in many cases, private cluster dues.

“I always caution people: To live in Reston, you have to pay for a lot of things,” said Hudgins. “What we need to determine is do we want to isolate ourselves or does the public infrastructure need to be paid for by the public?”

The county said it will get advisory group feedback on potential revenue sources, including others that should be evaluated, in the coming months. It will also develop a proposed funding plan to include cost allocations between public and private sector, hold outreach meetings with the public and revise the plan based on feedback received.

The plan would then go to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

Reston Transportation Funding

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