‘Reston Road Tax’ Approved by Board of Supervisors as Part of Transportation Funding Plan

by Dave Emke March 1, 2017 at 2:45 pm 32 Comments

Reston Transit Area/Fairfax County

At its meeting Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the $2.27 billion Reston Transportation Funding Plan.

Included in the plan is a 2.1 cent/$100 of assessed value tax assessed to properties in the Reston Transit Station Area (pictured). Under the agreed-upon plan, current homeowners in the TSA will be responsible for up to $44.6 million of the estimated cost. The remainder of the tax funds (totaling $350 million) will be collected from commercial/industrial properties and from residential properties built in the future.

The rest of private funds, about $716 million, is expected to be collected through in-kind contributions to the grid by developers.

The residential tax issue was a concern of several of the speakers during a public hearing before the vote.

“FCDOT implicitly declares that Reston homeowners must be taxed because the County cannot move any current tax revenues in its $4 billion budget to improve Reston’s streets, the County can’t use any future station area property tax revenues to invest in Reston’s streets [and] the County can never raise the rates on any countywide taxes that would help generate billions in future tax revenues,” said Terry Maynard of the Reston 20/20 committee, who has been an outspoken detractor of the tax. “To insist on these assumptions is an outright falsehood, and FCDOT and [the Board of Supervisors] know it.”

Reston resident Tammi Petrine also addressed the board with similar concerns about forcing residents to pay for needed infrastructure. In addition, John McBride, land-use attorney representing Reston Association, addressed the board to share the RA Board of Directors’ stance against the residential tax.

Representing the Reston Network Analysis Advisory Group, chairman Andy Sigle said the “alternative funding sources” beyond the in-kind developer contributions were necessary.

“Following much discussion and additional community input, a majority of the advisory group voted to endorse staff’s recommendation,” Sigle said. “While the vote was not unanimous in regard to the specific road fund and service district contribution rates, the advisory group was in agreement regarding the general structure of the funding plan.”

Maggie Parker of developer Comstock Partners, who was also a part of RNAAG, said the group’s meetings were “informative, inclusive and impactful.”

“This funding plan is burdensome; however, after dozens of meetings, revision of scope and countless financial models, it is what it is,” she said. “Ultimately, it’s an investment in our community and the citizens who live and work here.”

In addition to the grid, private funds are slated to be used for upgrades to intersections. Public funds — from local, state, regional and federal sources — totaling $1.2 billion are to be used for roadway improvements including the construction of a bridge over the Dulles Toll Road at Soapstone Drive and a Town Center Parkway underpass of the Toll Road.

Two supervisors abstained from the vote. Supervisor Pat Herrity (Springfield District) said he continues to have concerns about the overall cost of the project, and Supervisor Linda Smyth (Providence District) said she could not support the plan when she has continually opposed a similar tax in Tysons.

Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District) said she understands taxes are unpopular, but she believes the impact is outweighed by the benefits.

“I think the relative point is that the majority of [the plan] is being paid for by public dollars and by developers,” she said. “It is a difficult ask, but we think it is an important ask. As Reston continues to grow, we have congestion — very bad congestion — and these infrastructure improvements need to get started.”

  • Greg

    So much for Reston’s streets being owned, funded and maintained by VDOT.


    • John Higgins

      Unfortunately, this is not unique. The westward expansion of Reston Parkway and the significant expansion/improvements to Route 28 several years back worked the same way. The state didn’t have money to make needed improvements, so the county funded them. Upon completion, the roads are turned over to the state and VDOT maintenance kicks in. As I recall, the eastern expansion of Ffx Co Pkwy to I=-95 was handled the same way.

  • LC

    Does this mean we will all get another bill in addition to the property tax bill? Can someone give me an example of how to calculate what this is going to cost me? My brain is too angry to compute…..

    • Edward Calvert

      The article is vague but I bet they’ll hide it in the regular property tax. So we never really see it up front. I think to calculate your tax, if your property is assessed at $300,000, then divide that by $100 = $3000. Then multiply by 2.1 cents. $3000 × .021 = $63. I think that’s right, but more importantly we need to figure out how to get them to reverse this tax or vote them out. This thing will be like candy to a baby since they can increase it without a referendum. Remember, we’re “rich” over here in Reston.

      • EliteinReston

        According to the tax statements mailed by the county, the regular property tax is listed as the general fund tax. The tax we pay to the Reston tax district is listed separately as “special district tax.” The separate amounts and accounts are clearly shown on the statement.

    • EliteinReston

      How to calculate your real estate tax bill:
      Use this same calculator but enter 2.1 cents for the tax rate.

    • Tammi Petrine

      If your residential property is within the TSA capture zone, you will be taxed extra. The amount is relatively low right now but in the future could skyrocket with no sunset.

      They claim there is a sunset but it can be over-ridden by BOS; also language says tax district will expire when all improvements have been made. Yeah, well who gets to decide when that is and who will if it means cutting off a revenue stream??? So in effect, the extra tax is here to stay but only for the capture zone which includes the DTR Corridor, RTC, TCN to Barron Cameron and area south of DTR to South Lakes in an area west of Reston Parkway (Including RA and USGS area)

      Rates can be adjusted by BOS annually and are tied to assessments which will certainly go up. So teaser rate and unknown assessments make investment in homes in this area very unattractive.

      I don’t think the Supervisors are all the same (weasels???) nor do I think the current ones are criminals. I do think the majority have not considered the unintended consequences of their actions. They know the state is broke and Feds are in disarray for the foreseeable future. Where NoVA used to be immune from national economic downturns, now we are suffering like everyone else. Our supervisors are doing the best they can but dang, sure wish they would’ve been honest about this one as to why they passed this crazy tax onto a majority of yet-to-be-built little guy homeowners. They don’t want to point out that most developers will make their profit and head for the next pot of gravy. Without question, these taxes should be paid by developers but then there would be no stream of revenue with longevity. Sigh.

      • Edward Calvert


      • Mike M

        You think the Supes are just stupid?

  • Hank from Reston

    Community input was solicited, but none of our comments effected the outcome. There was almost no community participation on the group making the recommendation, their analysis was very flawed and the conclusions disproportionately weighed in favor of developers.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Welcome to the People’s Republic of Reston
      The Great Leader, Hudgins, paves the way for a bright future

      • Chkitout1

        Total disgrace. This is what the Democrats have brought to Fairfax County. There isn’t a tax that Democrats don’t like.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Q: Why do the taxpayers have to pay for this?

    A: Because the weasels on the BoS are too intimidated to demand the extra funds from the developers.

  • Tammi Petrine

    To Greg: Don’t feel bad if you don’t understand; Reston is a complex situation. Most Reston streets will be VDOT streets and maintained by them. Thank heaven! A few exceptions are the RTC as well as interior cluster streets/parking lots which are totally private, But according to info shared at the last Reston P & Z meeting, Fairfax County has taken responsibility to actually build some of the existing main public streets such as a future 3rd lane on Reston Parkway south of DTR. (Note: don’t be expecting this 3rd lane any time soon but it’s on the master plan.) I thought VDOT would do the actually building… So now is FFX Co. in the road building business? Ey yi yi. Is the county hiring sharp negotiators to get the best prices or paying what the traffic (no pun intended) will bear? Same goes for VDOT, BTW.

    • Greg

      It just never ends, the taxing. We pay a higher sales tax in NoVA than elsewhere in the commonwealth (but for Hampton Roads). That tax is supposed to pay for transportation. We pay higher gas taxes (for metro), and tolls. The Tolls! The toll road was to be other than a toll road once it was paid for….so we can be sure that this new tax will live on, and likely increase in perpetuity just like the tolls.

      Why, for example, does the original toll road have staffed booths? They do nothing but add costs and slow traffic.

  • Longime Reston Resident

    Cathy Hudgins is a disgrace. An absolute disgrace.

  • Walter Hadlock

    There is a certain irony to Supervisor Cathy Hudgins statement “I think the relative point is that the majority of [the plan] is being paid for by public dollars (read you the taxpayer) and by developers”, she said. “It is (a) difficult to ask, but we think it is an important ask. As Reston continues to grow, we have congestion–very bad congestion–and these infrastructure improvements need to get started”. And just who, you might ask, votes every time in favor of more development that leads to more congestion–why it’s our delightful county board of supervisors. It’s pretty nervy to vote for whatever the developers want, and then say how difficult it is for “us” to ask you the homeowner to cough up more money.


      The cost to developers is just passed on in our housing costs. That is just another hidden tax. Developers never pay out of their own pockets.

      • Guest

        I’m all for squinting at the district. But do you really think that if developer costs went down they’d charge less than the market would bear?

  • P Henry

    The BoS pulled off the same stunt with Tyson’s area residents.

  • John Farrell

    Congratulations, Sup. Hudgins, you just made housing in the RCIG less affordable.

    • Mike M

      That may be part of the plan. The developers are already wondering how to get beyond this area and increase density without paying homeowners market value. These special taxes may be part of the answer.

  • 30yearsinreston

    Commissar Hudgins has never seen a homeowner’s tax she doesn’t like
    Socialize the cost, privatize the profits
    Tax Developers ? Oh the horror

  • 30yearsinreston

    Anyone know why Fairfax County can tax areas in the city of Herndon ?


    Reston is the candy store for the County taxers! Why doesn’t Catherine Hudgins stand up for us for a change? We already pay our road taxes when we pay gasoline taxes. We pay the most for the crappy Silver Line, we pay huge tolls for the toll road they promised wouldn’t have tolls after it was paid for, EZpass has huge fines if the reading machines or transponders make a mistake forcing us to waste work days in court. We even have to pay for parking where we shop and eat now. Taxed Enough Already!


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