News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, April 15, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Least Surprising Survey Results of All Time (Updated)

From our BFFs at the Reston Association:


No word on whether the "yes" responses all came from people at JBG, Boston Properties and Northwestern Mutual frantically mashing the reload buttons on their browsers.

This is all part of a push by Fairfax County to figure out how to pay for all the roads and much-delayed bridges and never-to-be-built bridges and whatnot needed to support all the sweeeeet sweeeet bollardy goodness that's popping up around the Metro stations. Give us some good blockquote, BFFs at Reston Now:

At a meeting in February, county officials said Reston is going to need more than $2.6 billion in transportation improvements to keep up with development and population growth in the next 40 years.

High on the priority list are an urban-style street grid around transit stations and additional spots to cross the Dulles Toll Road, according to the advisory group. At that meeting, the possibility of a special tax district was first discussed. Tysons has a special tax district in place since 2013. Businesses and residents of Tysons are taxed in order to help raise about $810 million of the estimated $3.1 billion necessary for longterm changes.

The Tysons Special Tax for FY2016 is $0.05 per $100 of assessed real estate value.

Which is funny, because RA also asked the people willing to pay this special assessment how much they'd be willing to pay. The "suggested minimum," as charities like to put it, was less than half that amount, but then again, Reston ain't Paris:


Again, not exactly a shocker how people voted. That 2 cents/$100, BTW, adds up to an additional $120 a year in property taxes on a $600,000 house.

Bear in mind the RA really has no say in this. The county's Board of Supervisors does, and they can basically impose the special tax district by fiat. And we already have one for the Reston Community Center, which subsidizes the building and various cultural events, while most of the rest of the county's rec centers are funded by the entire county.

And that's the rub. It's kind of galling that Fairfax sees Tysons and Reston as the future of the tax base that supports the entire county, yet is asking those of us who already live here, and not so much the developers, to foot the bill to grow that tax base responsibly, in a way that doesn't lead to utter gridlock. Virginia just enacted a law that makes these kinds of developer proffers tougher to do, but still. If what's good for Reston and Tysons is also good for the rest of the county and its deteriorating basketball courts, then shouldn't we all foot the bill?

Even if you live in Springfield and would never dream of paying to park at our elite chain retail emporium, the sweeeeet taxes from all Reston's vowel-free development should (in theory) pay for upkeep of your sprawling suburban street network. Right?

Want to take the poll yourself? Apparently you have to be signed up for the RA's fancy "news letter" to get a personal link, which already kinda sorta favors the folks most likely to be willing to cough up extra money be involved in community affairs -- which makes the 70 percent "no" vote to date even more clear. There was talk of sending it to everyone, so we'll see if that happens. Or if county officials listen to what we're saying. There's a first time for everything!

Update: You can apparently vote by following this link to the newsletter and following the instructions. Unlike Chicago in the 1960s, apparently this system allows only one vote per (living) person.


  1. This is a link to the survey results which is useful because you can't get there after you vote.

  2. I propose a compromise. Raise the taxes to fix the infrastructure IF AND ONLY IF they ban any further population density increase.


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