Letter: Tysons Tax District Should Worry Us

Should homeowners in Reston be worried that their property taxes could be increased to pay for roads and bridges necessary for the density planned around the Silver Line Metro stations?

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has just given the residents of Tysons Corner a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings. 

The Board of Supervisors is in the process of creating a special "service" tax district to pay for road and bridge improvements to support the creation of the new city of Tysons.  The current residents of  Tysons Corner will have their property taxes raised.  Since estimates on large construction projects are usually underestimated, Tysons residents canreasonably expect that tax burden will increase over time.

Will this surcharge end after the roads are built?  Here in Reston we are still paying a surcharge for the Reston Community Center, whose bond was paid off some time ago.  We paid off the Dulles Toll Road - and instead of taking off the tolls, the road was given away to MWAA, and we now face yearly tolls of $2,000 to commute to our jobs. 

Roads used to be funded by state and federal government and everyone shared in the cost.  The Board of Supervisors has decided that a small number of residents have to pay for the roads near them.   It's a strange turn when local property taxes are used to fund large scale infrastructure projects.  One would hope there would be a thorough judicial review.     

Should homeowners in Reston be worried that their property taxes could be increased to pay for roads and bridges necessary for the density planned around the Silver Line Metro stations?  They should.  This is the mechanism the county intends to use to pay for Reston's redevelopment. 

It has been estimated that a bridge crossing every quarter mile across the Dulles Toll Road will be necessary to manage the increased commercial and residential units planned there.  Those bridges run between $100 and $200 million each.   An extensive new grid of streets in the Dulles Corridor will have to be built.  Major arteries on both sides of the Dulles Toll Road will have to be widened.  

Unlike the transportation tax district created to fund Phase I and II of the Silver Line, a "service" tax district requires no vote of those being taxed.  The Board of Supervisors only has to hold a public hearing before taxing people.  How much of Reston will be included in this new tax district?  Half of Reston?  All of Reston?  

The burden of this infrastructure cost at Tysons should be the responsibility of the developers who will benefit from increaseddensity, not local homeowners.   Members of the Board of Supervisors who vote for this Tysons "service" district in January, Republican or Democrat, should be removed from office


Kathy Kaplan
Reston, Virginia

Burt Rosenberg December 11, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Absolutly correct, Kathy. Especially your last sentence. -Burt Rosenberg Reston, Va
Terry Maynard December 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Reston 2020 has posted a link to Kathy's letter on its blog with some comments. (http://www.reston2020.blogspot.com/2012/12/letter-letter-tysons-tax-district.html) Here are some excerpts from those comments: Kathy's letter raises an important issue that should concern all Restonians. . . The (Tysons) "service district" proposal . . . would force (residents there) to pay the same extra (property) tax pro rated to their property's value as the corporations. Unlike the corporations, however, they will not be able to pass on their added tax costs to their customers, clients, etc.--because they don't have any! . . . The infrastructure tax issue is one of fundamental fairness. All the development in Tysons will not increase the income of its residents. It will likely skyrocket the profits of the commercial developers in the area. Those who profit ought to be the ones who pay the investment cost. . . . the (Reston) task force has so far avoided these issues all together. While the County staff stated it did not want to make the same mistake that the Tysons staff did by including implementation and financing issues in planning discussions, the fact is that the "mistake" at Tysons was not including them in detail in the planning effort. To have done so would have probably reduced the approved plan level of overall growth to a more realistic level. . . .
No Toll Increase December 11, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Excellent letter! Restonians not only have to wonder whether they will be able to afford their property taxes, but whether the DTR will cease to exist as an affordable transportation option. See the debt service graph posted as a photo on this article- If you think tolls are bad now with debt service of about $50M/yr, wait until it doubles in two years, triples in six, or hits $450M/yr! Is it time to stop the insanity and stop the train at Wiehle? If not, how about MWAA tolls the Airport Access Road instead of the DTR? This current fundamentally flawed finance plan is a disaster, but our elected officials just kick the can down the road by "buying down" tolls for a year or two with hundreds of millions of our taxpayer dollars. Stand up and speak out to save our communities! www.notollincrease.org


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