Tysons Corner residents and businesses may soon be subject to a special tax district, part of an overall package of funding options for transportation projects in the county’s urban center.
The tax district will only fund about 11 percent of the estimated $3 billion in transportation projects needed in Tysons over the next 40 years. However, it is very important in that it creates a cash flow to help get projects under way, said Walter Alcorn, who heads the Planning Commission’s Tysons Task Force. The task force and county staff spent months developing the detailed funding plan that the Board of Supervisors adopted Tuesday.
The other sources of funding are developer contributions — both in-kind and cash — from those redeveloping Tysons around the four new Metro stations, as well as local, state and federal transportation dollars. The plan goes into great detail to delineate what types of funding sources will be used for which type of project. For example, developers are expected to build much of the new street grid while redeveloping, while a project like adding a new highway exit ramp would be a primarily county responsibility.
Residents of the Rotonda Condominiums, who comprise the bulk of residential property owners in Tysons, are none too pleased with the prospect of a tax increase. Many spoke in opposition to the tax district at a public hearing Tuesday.
“It just doesn’t strike me as fair,” said Rotonda resident Rusell Moss. “Everyone in Fairfax County is looking at Tysons Corner to solve their problems.”
However, others who have long held concerns about redevelopment in Tysons expressed satisfaction that the infrastructure costs would be shared among all stakeholders.
“The responsibilities it levies on both the public and private sectors are substantial, but they are a fair allocation of responsibilities,” said McLean Citizens Association President Sally Horn.
Board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova (D-At large) said that the redevelopment that is expected in Tysons over the coming decades will have fiscal benefits for landowners, the county and the state.
“It needs to be a shared responsibility because there will be a shared benefit,” Bulova said.
Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield), however, strongly objected to the new tax district. He said the county should instead reduce requirements for developers to provide rent controlled housing in Tysons and have builders invest their proffer dollars in transportation instead.
“The money is there … the problem is that unlike our history we are spending that money on green roofs and housing for people making up to $130,000 per year,” he said.
His motion to change the requirements failed.
The Board of Supervisors is expected to officially vote to establish the “service district” for Tysons Corner by the end of this year, and then they would set the tax rate for the service district when they adopt the fiscal 2014 budget in the spring.