Autumn on Lake Audobon

Autumn on Lake Audobon
Autumn on Lake Audubon, Photo by Alison Kamat

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Statement of Terry Maynard, Co-Chair, Reston 20/20 Committee at Board of Supervisors Hearing on the Reston Road Tax



 Statement of
Terry Maynard, Co-Chair, Reston 20/20 Committee
re FCDOT’s Proposed Reston Station Area Transportation Service District Tax
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Public Hearing
February 28, 2017


Good afternoon.  I am Terry Maynard.  I reside at 2217 Wakerobin Lane in Reston.  I am speaking on behalf of the Reston 20/20 Committee.  

The Reston TSD road tax proposal you are considering is a sham based on erroneous assumptions, defective logic, and inaccurate official public statements. 

The greatest fiction in this tax scheme is the foundation assumption that Fairfax County faces a $350 million “funding gap” for improving Reston station area streets over four decades.  Of that so-called gap, FCDOT proposes that $139 million should be paid by a Transportation Service District (TSD) tax on Reston station area property owners.  That includes an estimated $40-$45 million on owned residences.  That’s about $1 million per year in added homeowner taxes in 2016 dollars.
 
In fact, there is no gap.  In making this assumption, FCDOT implicitly declares that Reston homeowners must be taxed because:

  • The County cannot move any current tax revenues in its $4 billion budget to improve Reston’s streets.  
  • The County can’t use any future station area property tax revenues to invest in Reston’s streets.
  • The County can never raise the rates on any county-wide taxes that would help generate billions in future tax revenues. 
To insist on these assumptions is an outright falsehood, and FCDOT and you know it.

Moreover, the idea that homeowners should pay a special tax to meet a basic infrastructure requirement is ludicrous.  How many of you pay a special annual tax for improvements in public streets or intersections near your homes?  The answer is “None.”  No, our public streets are a collective County asset, not the funding responsibility of neighborhood homeowners.

If logic were actually applied, it would dictate that only those who benefit financially from the street improvements would pay for them.   Two parties benefit:  Developers through profits averaging over $1 billion per year on their Reston station area development, and the County through some $11 billion in future station area property tax revenues. 

Moreover, if Reston’s developers can’t afford an added $1 million per year contribution to their road fund out of the $45 billion in profits they will likely earn in the next four decades, they really shouldn’t be in business in Reston.  

Worst of all, this scheme calls for 87% of homeowners’ future taxes to be spent on building streets on the grid’s periphery that will generate more traffic and would otherwise not be built because adjoining development would not be profitable.  From homeowners pockets to developer profits.  That’s not even happening in Tysons. 

Homeowners, on the other hand, will not earn an additional penny and, contrary to official statements, they will face more congested streets under the RNAG plan as a result of your decision to lower urban traffic service standards. 

In one line, this taxation scheme calls for Reston homeowners to pay more for less. 

Yet the County continues to flog the proposal with inaccurate and incomplete statements. 

  • It “assumes” that the proposed tax rate will remain flat, but this is a teaser rate that will escalate quickly.
  • It rejects the need to invest in any additional bus service despite the planned doubling of Reston station area population and jobs.
  • It fails to acknowledge that any “sunset provision” in the scheme could be easily eliminated by the Board.

This entire endeavor is political theater to legitimize a Board-driven effort to create another tax revenue stream.  If this is approved, you will likely use the same bogus approach to create comparable tax districts in the dozen or so other County re-development areas identified in last year’s zoning ordinance amendment. 

Stop the phony political theatrics to justify a dishonest scheme.  Manage County spending rather than creating deceitful gimmicks to add to Reston homeowners’ growing tax burden.  Stop this unjustified and unfair tax now.

Thank you.

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