Potential Transportation Tax District Won’t Include All of Reston

Reston Transit Areas/Fairfax CountyIn looking for ways to fund about $2.6 billion in transportation improvements in Reston, there has been talk among officials of creating a special tax district to cover some of the costs.

At a community meeting Wednesday, Fairfax County Department of Transportation officials said that idea is still on the table — but only for residents and businesses in developments within the Reston’s transit area. Transit areas are considered within one-quarter of a mile or less from Metro Stations at Wiehle-Reston East and (in 2o2o) Reston Town Center.

The Reston Network Analysis Group (RNAG) and FCDOT mentioned in February the possibility of taxing all of Reston or all of Special Tax District 5 (the Reston area that is already paying annually to fund the Reston Community Center). That idea has been discarded, FCDOT says.

The transit areas are expected to see the greatest level of development — and will need the most street grid, lane additions and traffic signals, among other improvements — as Reston grows over the next three decades.

FCDOT’s Janet Nguyen says $1.34 billion in transportation projects will likely come from shared public and private contributions. That money would go for road widening, intersection improvements, the Soapstone overpass, and an Dulles Toll Road underpass near Reston Town Center, among other projects.

The $1.28 billion grid network in the transit station areas — which the RNAG is currently studying — would likely be paid for mostly by developers and the possible service tax district. An urban grid is important to improve walkability and slow traffic, transportation officials said.

A service district is a special tax that pays for improvements in a defined area. It is established by the Board of Supervisors and does not need to be approved by residents. In Tysons, the rate is per .05 cents per $100 of home value.

The Tysons special service district assessment will pay for $253 million of improvements, or about half of the Tysons’ urban improvement costs. Overall, the urban grid in Tysons will cost $865 million. More than $561 million will be covered by developers, said the county.

Nguyen has used the recent Tysons service district as a model, though she said Reston’s might look different because some infrastructure is already in place.

Reston Association recently surveyed members to see how they felt about an additional tax. RA says nearly 700 individuals completed survey, with 86 percent saying no to paying more. The survey was merely for informational purposes — while RA has a representative on the RNAG, it has no authority to implement the tax.

Graphic: Map of Reston’s transit areas.

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