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 can reasonably 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 and its 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 increased density, 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.