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Special Reston Transportation District Tax Options Taking Shape

by Karen Goff June 23, 2016 at 10:30 am 12 Comments

Traffic on Reston Parkway/Credit: Reston 2020The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is still considering a special tax or special service district to fund $2.6 billion in transportation improvements in the Reston area in coming years.

Two ideas mentioned in a briefing to the Reston Network Analysis & Funding Plan (RNAG) Advisory Group this week include a tax district: $0.03/$100 of assessed values for commercial and industrial properties in Reston transit station areas or a service district of $0.015/$100 of assessed values for all properties in Reston transit station areas.

The suggestions will be further discussed at a community meeting Monday, 7-9 p.m., at the North County Government Center, 1801 Cameron Glen Drive, Reston.

The presentation uses the example of a .015 cent tax to show how it would affect homeowners. A service district homeowner with a $400,000 home would see a rise of about $60 in annual taxes. An owner with a $900,000 home would be taxed about $135 more.

Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) officials have previously said a service district would only include properties within the Reston’s transit area, or about one-quarter of a mile or less from Metro stations.

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 said last month that $1.34 billion to fund 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.

See more information, as well as some of the high-priority Reston transportation improvements, in the presentation below.

Reston Funding Plan June 2016

  • tmw313

    Just bought a house in Reston and am a little concerned about all the increases I am reading about. Meals tax, transportation tax, RA flubbing a Lake House purchase. All this on top of a cluster fee of $110/month, $900/yr RA fee and $3xx/yr Community Center fee. Beginning to wonder what I got myself into:(

    • EliteinReston

      You forgot the parking fee at the town center, the recent Dulles Toll Road increases and that property taxes are going up as assessed value increases. “What you got yourself into” is a relatively high-income, two-earner area (A town center rep called us “elite”) where local governments, including Reston’s shadow government, think nothing of raising taxes without always providing a clear explanation of where the money is going. We’re told the meals tax is for the schools–but no specifics about how the schools will spend it. In addition, no one looks at the big picture of how these taxes and fees converge ie. how a parking fee and meals tax would increase the cost of a weeknight at the town center, where some of the businesses will no doubt raise prices to cover the cost of paying their employees’ parking fees.

      • Leila Gordon

        Reston Town Center’s parking fee structure was recently revised to exempt employees of retail/restaurant establishments.

        • EliteinReston

          Thank you, Leila. I missed that when it happened but looked up the Reston Now article announcing the exemption.

    • Greg

      Tax and spend sanctuary county is what you got yourself into. As our local “supervisor” said, despite raising all those taxes and fees, “it’s not enough.”

      Oh, and don’t forget all this “safety surge” madness on the metro has to be paid for too. Likely another boost in the sales taxes for that.

      Did you get your car-tax bill yet?

    • Jennifer Walter

      I hear ya, moved to Reston a year ago and all these surprises seem to keep popping up, not sure about all of it.

      • Mike M

        TMW and Jennifer,
        Your neighbors are mindless L-words. They vote so solidly D, that no one bothers to oppose them. Then your neighbors wonder why they get pinched. Go figure!
        Love, Mike

  • Greg

    Why does it cost three times more to fix Reston than Tysons?

  • There is a problem on many fronts. For example, our elementary schools
    have class sizes of about 28 puples per class room when the national
    average is closser to 20 per class and in many states there is a fixed
    law requiring no moret han 20 per class room. The country tries to make
    up for it by hiring teaching awssistants. and they have no choice for
    there is insufficient number of class rooms to handle the enrollments
    without building more buildings. So our school system is suffering from
    lack of resources and this is just one of many, many critical issues to
    be dealth with in the years ahead. I think an increase in the local
    sales tax would be much better than raising the real estate taxes.

    • Greg

      Why don’t you move to one of those states?

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