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

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