Advisory Group Strongly Opposed to Special Tax District to Pay for Reston Roads

by Karen Goff October 4, 2016 at 11:30 am 20 Comments

Traffic LightThe Reston advisory group looking at ways to raise $2.6 billion to fund Reston road improvements over the next 40 years says it is strongly opposed to a special tax district for new development in Reston’s transit station areas.

The Reston Network Analysis Advisory Group (RNAG) last month approved a document containing high level feedback on the funding plan. It will provide an update to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

RNAG says:

Public revenues should be responsible for the roadway improvements and private revenues would be responsible for intersection and grid improvements.

Tax Districts should be removed from further discussion — there is unanimity from the group that a tax district is unrealistic and should be taken off the table.

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 has said $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 mostly be funded by developers (and a possible service district, not a special tax district. A service district is imposed by the Board of Supervisors on a geographic area.). An urban grid is important to improve walkability and slow traffic, transportation officials say.

The county and RNAG have been looking at a variety of scenarios to fund the projects. Among the suggestions has been creating a tax district similar to the Metro special tax district or a service district, similar to Tysons (rate is .05 cents per $100 of tax assessment).

A service district is established by the Board of Supervisors and does not need to be approved by residents.

The Board of Supervisors hopes to approve a funding plan by late 2016 or early 2017.

See the Tuesday presentation prepared by FCDOT on the Fairfax County website.

See a list of expected big-ticket Reston road projects below.


  • vdiv

    Just paid a $2,700 property tax bill on my Tesla (was $3,100 last year) and yet I have not seen a single $3 light bulb get replaced on the intersection streetlights (FC or VADOT, I don’t care). Maybe I should have asked Trump yesterday on how to weasel out of paying taxes…

    • Reston Realist

      Maybe you should have bought a used Fiat.

      • vdiv

        Or move to a state that both fixes roads and doesn’t tax cars.

        • Mike M

          To buy a “world-class education” for anybody who can get here and squat!

          • One Really

            As soon as my last child finishes school I am headed to the country.

            I need to escape this tax money apocalypse!!!

          • Mike M

            It’s as if that’s what the BoS wants.

        • Edward Calvert

          Right into the suit jackets of the big biz developers !!

    • Greg

      Gotta love those streetlights. They burn out in days it seems and take years to replace.

  • RunDMC

    Wait so…

    Build a BUNCH of new housing/offices/retail in the area that would be the special tax district, which results in way more cars/pedestrians/delivery trucks on the roads.

    Know that traffic is already crazy and will get even crazier as all of the development happens.

    But be staunchly opposed to taxing people moving into the special tax district because… reasons?

    I live just south of the toll road between Wiehle and South Lakes, on Sunrise Valley drive, and I would be HAPPY! THRILLED! YES PLEASE! to pay tax money that was specifically set aside to make the roads better. I mean OK yeah no one wants to pay more taxes, but at the same time if it’s either more taxes or “Whoops turns out we don’t have enough money to fund these road improvements! Sorry!” I know which option I’d pick.

    • cRAzy

      Per my comment below, they intend to make the streets worse, not better. The benefactors of the added traffic–especially developers who will make billions on the additional development–should pay the bill for the roads and intersections, and, yes, the needed additional transit. And, then, by golly, the County will have more property tax revenues to build the roads!

      That’s how it should work.

      • The Constitutionalist

        Keep your damn logic to yourself, this is government we’re dealing with.

  • cRAzy

    Hmmm . . . The presentation keeps saying that Reston residents will benefit from the improvements. Actually, FCDOT has said repeatedly that they intend to lower the standard of traffic handling for the new streets/intersections/grid, etc, specifically from LOS “D” to “E”–which is near gridlock at peak. So, no, Restonians can worse traffic conditions–and there is no reason any of us should pay added taxes for worse public streets.

    • JoeInReston

      So this is the promised utopia. More traffic congestion, more taxes, and the expectation that residents should commute by taking the bus to the metro and possibly another bus to get to our final destination, with each hop having the potential for a 2 to 20 minute wait depending on time and cycle.

      • Mike M

        Da, tovarishche. Pay your fee and get in line!

    • RestonGrandma

      Clearly there’s no benefit for us restonians. I thought it was all inevitable and we were to be overwhelmed by the unholy alliance between the developers and the BoS. But I’m encouraged by some signs of rebellion and pushback. Keep up the good work and save our town.

  • Reston Realist

    I am stumped at to why FCDOT should be going to a County committee to discuss this matter before it has been decided locally. My cynical (but realistic) expectation is that they expect and want the County transportation committee to tell them that Restonians HAVE to pay a tax (because Tysons does) and that’s what they’ll recommend to the Board of Supervisors. Just watch!

  • Arielle in NoVA

    What’s DTR, in the list of projects? –oh, must be Dulles Toll Road. I thought it was a type of construction or road style.

  • Nyla J.

    Developer: “I’d like to build 1000 new residences in your backyard, Nyla J. The traffic will be gridlock, the air and light pollution terrible, and the schools will be overcrowded at best. Have fun with that.”
    County: “Oh, and we’d like to “special tax” you, Nyla J. to pay for it.”

  • dudewe

    The developers are taking us for suckers.They are the ones (or their surrogates) who showed up at the rezoning hearings to testify for the rezoning last June and the Planning Commission and Supervisors went along with it. Now they want Restonians to pay to ameliorate the extra traffic their development will generate. What a deal – they make the money and we pay!

    The redevelopment of the Vornado property at the northwest corner of Wiehle Ave and Sunrise Valley is coming up for a decision by the Planning Commission tomorrow, Wednesday. The development provides no bus transit access to the station and not even minimal traffic improvements. Call Supervisor Hudgins and tell her to direct her Planning Commissioner to vote against it. If this development gets approved, you can bet even more owners along Sunrise Valley will follow and kill our town.

    • Edward Calvert

      There’s nothing quite like a shiny new metro rail to put the sparkle in the eyes of greedy developers and speculative property owners !!


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