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LTE: Tysons Tax District Should Worry Us

Property taxes will go up to pay for roads and bridges along Silver Line Metro stations, reader says, which will impact residents across region.

To the editor:

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

Sincerely,

Kathy Kaplan
Reston, Virginia


Navid Roshan December 11, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Kathy, like I said before. Homeowners values are skyrocketing in these corridors because of the actions of this board and the introduction of new smart growth designs with multi-mode transit options. To say that only developers gain anything from this is acting as a greedy home owner. I am a home owner in Tysons (something you are not), and I am in favor of this tax because it means that the changes that are necessary to stop forcing all activities to be car based, to provide bike lanes, sidewalks, multiple road options, and transit mean I should pay my fair share also as I too benefit from that. Looking at the tysons plan, (instead of demonizing the idea of it) you would see that the residents pay for a whopping 7% of the total cost of infrastructure without the silver line cost included, and a gargantuan 2.5% of the infrastructure cost if you do include the silver line. By contrast developers are paying 40% of the cost of infrastructure (include road construction on property, road fund, and tax district) without including the silver line, and 50% of the cost when the silver line is included. The developers, of which I am not one, continue to pay more of a percentage in Tysons than in any other planning district in the history of Virginia. And yet people keep scapegoating them. Tysons isn't a fear for future plans, it should be the model, something Reston (where you are from) could learn from.
Marilynne Gisin February 18, 2013 at 04:08 AM
These benefits won't occur for 40 years--longer after you and I are dust. Don't you know that? And what about the seniors on fixed incomes? Haven't we been scammed enough. Let the developers pay & then recover in the prices of their products. Otherwise, you and I are sitting ducks for the legislators in Richmond.
Marilynne Gisin February 18, 2013 at 04:12 AM
Someone drank the KoolAid here because I'm a Tysons resident and am mad as hell for being put in a position of a sitting duck and Richmond the shooter. You will not see the "benefit" of these spent tax $$ for 40 years--long after you and I are dust. This is from the good folks in Richmond who are building the road to nowhere!

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