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Survey Says: No Transportation Tax in Reston

by Karen Goff — April 26, 2016 at 10:00 am 7 Comments

Transportation tax district questionsDo you want to pay more taxes for transportation improvements? An informal Reston Association survey shows that most Restonians don’t.

Reston Association recently surveyed members (through a printed questionnaire at its annual meeting and a link sent electronically) asking how residents felt about Fairfax County’s proposal to create a service tax district to fund transportation improvements here.

The county says about $2.6 billion in improvements will be needed in Reston as it grows over the next several decades. Much of that will be paid for in developer proffers, but there still are hundreds of millions needed for roads, lights, ramps and bridges.

RA says nearly 700 individuals completed survey.

Residents were asked if they would be willing to pay an additional tax based on the value of their property that would only be used to fund transportation improvements in Reston. Eighty-six percent of respondents (597) answered “no.” Among the 94 (14 percent) that answered “yes,” most said they would be willing to pay extra taxes but only at the lowest rate (0.020 per $100 of value).

The survey was purely an opinion test, though. RA has no authority to impose the tax. RA will share the results of the survey with the county’s Transit Station Areas Network Analysis & Funding Advisory Group.

RA also received comments from some members. Here is what they had to say:

It’s unfortunate that these long-known expenses were ignored and not funded during the time the silver line was planned and debated, but it’s now beyond reasonable to ask that everyone now pay yet more for something that we should not otherwise pay for. Indeed, most roads in Reston are owned and maintained by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I don’t think we should have to pay for roads everywhere else in Virginia and also pay for our own. This homeowner in Reston would rather not be taxed for things developers should provide.

I am unalterably opposed to any special tax district associated with transportation improvements. The increased density only provides benefits to the developers and their RA advocates and doesn’t benefit the rest of us. Any cost should be borne by those who benefit.

As a resident of Reston since the early 1970s I strongly oppose creating a special tax district in Reston to help finance transportation improvements. The traffic congestion reflects the commercial development that the Fairfax Board of Supervisors has approved. I believe the developers and Fairfax County should finance the transport infrastructure needed to handle the explosive growth in Reston. A large share of the people using Reston roads and bridges don’t live in Reston but commute in to work or use the Metro.

Please do not support this tax. I live in Reston and really cannot afford another tax expense.

I am a 45 year resident of Reston and I am completely opposed to creating a new tax district to pay for transportation. There is no financial benefit to Reston residents in new development. All the benefit goes to the developers and they should pay the cost of any infrastructure needed. I have lived in Reston since 1970 and between condo fees, RA fees, county, taxes, PP taxes, state taxes, I am rapidly being priced out of living in Reston. Not exactly the Reston ideal envisioned by Robert Simon! PLEASE represent the people of Reston and hold out against this new picking of our thin pockets.

Our household does not support a residential tax increase to pay for road improvements due to metro and associated development. We believe the developers should shoulder this burden.

I do support some form of tax district to pay for the transportation improvements needed to provide access to the Metrorail stations and improve traffic through and within Reston. This is what was done in Tysons.

I would be willing to pay if not just for improvements around Metro stations.

I would be willing to pay only if it’s county-wide. Restonians shouldn’t have to foot the bill when all of Fairfax County benefits and uses Reston, especially since the Metro.

  • John Higgins

    With no explanation of the problem to be addressed by these “improvements” or the consequences of not addressing them, 86 percent would not voluntarily pay more tax. Shocking.

    • Scott H

      You’re correct, but no explanation is needed to make a rational decision. The infrastructure was just fine to support the density of Reston before Metro.
      Metro has brought additional traffic from non-Reston residents and additional residential development, increasing the density and associated traffic.
      Existing Reston residents should not foot the bill to pay for NEW residents and non-residents that use Reston for commuter parking.
      Transportation improvements should be funded by what is driving the need – in this case, perhaps a use tax on metro and the developers/new residents that are driving density. And you know, if needed road improvements make it unsound financially for a developer to build a new 400 unit residential building, then so be it. It’s a bad investment. Developers should not look to tax payers to subsidize their bottom line.

      • John Higgins

        I’m smiling. I found the survey question rather silly. still, the problem is quite real. And as with most complex questions, there are more than one rational approaches. To paraphrase Menken, there’s a simple answer to every complex question, and it’s always wrong.

  • Mike M

    I think I pay enough taxes.

    • Greg

      I know we do.

  • WW

    Wait, so we’re an “elite” destination, and will soon pay to park in our own Town Center, yet we’re also being asked to fund road development to accommodate the very growth that’s being blamed for the introduction of paid parking at RTC. Is anyone else confused by this circular logic? Perhaps what we really need is one of those non-resident tolling schemes, since what we’ve really become is Loudon County’s downtown, and they sure don’t pay taxes that fund our roads.

  • Rational Reston

    RA will take the public position of not adding taxes to the people of Reston, and then turn around and declare that they need that money in our RA assesments.

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