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County Committee Tackles Who Pays What for Tysons Transportation Costs

Proposal for special tax district to help pay billion-dollar costs.

The Tysons Corner committee starts to decide tonight exactly who pays how much for the estimated nearly $3 billion in transportation improvements that are the core of getting 100,000 future residents and 200,000 workers around the new city of Tysons Corner by 2050.

The committee spent two hours Thursday night listening to developers and citizens react to the committee's first proposal for dividing up the costs. About 45 people attended that meeting. The committee is a subcommittee of the county's planning commission.

Here's a summary of the transportation needs and their costs and the reaction from citizens and developers.

1. Grid of Streets.  Developers will build them as they build the new office buildings, apartments/condominiums, stores and restaurants that will populate the new Tysons Corner.

Cost: $561 million.

2. "Missing Links." These are important parts of the grid not associated with a specific development.

Cost: $304 million. Existing money called the Tysons Road Club to which developers will continue to contribute.

 3. Neighborhood improvements. The increased traffic coming in and out of Tysons will have a huge impact on roads in McLean and Vienna.

Cost: $77 million to be paid by state, federal, regional and county governments.

 4. Transit. Expanding the Fairfax Connector service to get riders to and from the four Silver Line subway stations located in McLean and Tysons Corner.

Cost: $408 million to be paid by federal, state and local government.

 5. Tysons-wide Road Improvements. Including new on and off ramps at the Dulles Toll Road, extending Jones Branch Road over the Capital Beltway to connect to Dolley Madison Boulevard near Capital One, widening of Route 7 from Tysons Corner to Reston.

Cost: $1.2 billion: $701 million to be paid by the federal, state and county governments.  $506 million by the private sector of which $253 million would be raised by creating a Tysons-wide tax district which would cover both existing residents and new residents living in Tysons Corner from Route 7 to Margarity Road.

The other $253 million would be paid by developers building new projects.

Tysons developers and landowners generally supported the proposed transportation financing plan. Citizens were wary of how much they would end up paying for the transportation that is central to the development of the new city.

Here are a range of comments:

Tom Fleury, executive vice president with City Line Partners: “This is an excellent framework to proceed with the non-rail transportation improvements. A lot of people worked a long time to pull all this together. People need to know exactly what they are signing up for.”

Sally Horn, president, McLean Citizens Association: County taxpayers also needed to  “know the magnitude of the financial obligations and risks that Tysons’ redevelopment will entail for them and so that they are better protected against uncertain and possibly unlimited financial obligations for infrastructure.”

Vienna Mayor M. Jane Seeman: Many Vienna intersections will be affected  by increased traffic going and coming from Tysons Corner. Therefore “It is incumbent upon the county to fund these intersection improvements,” she said.

She said there should be a schedule for the neighborhood improvements to be completed.

Steve Ruckman, from the Rotunda; “I ask you to reject this new tax” district. He said Tysons residents can expect to pay higher taxes because of increased property tax values that will come from the new development.

William Lawson, a lawyer representing Rotunda owners:  “The Rotunda does oppose the imposition of a tax district. . . Many residents are on a fixed income. . . an additional tax burden will be difficult for these individuals.”

Juan Cardenas, lawyer representing Tyco Park Condominium, also spoke in opposition to the proposed special tax district.

John Harrison, vice-president for development, Macerich which owns Tysons I. He asked that the county adopt a priority list of transportation projects for the first four years.

“We write the checks and I think we have an interest in seeing things built in the near term that we can rely on,” he said.

Christian Deschauer, Fairfax Chamber of Commerce. The entire business community supports a cap on the number of Tysons-wide transportation projects.

He also asked for a review of the requirement that developers provide athletic fields as part of their developments.

“Relaxing that requirement would reduce the cost but not change the plan," he said. The athletic field requirement has become a major point of contention between citizens and developers.

Rob Jackson June 27, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Christian, I must disagree with you on the fields issue. Using the new urban standards, a population of 100 K residents and 200 K workers requires 66 fields in Tysons. The adopted plan only offers 20. Cutting back on the 20 fields is unacceptable. It will degrade the quality of life for Tysons residents and burden the neighboring communities. Also, the Table 7 projects DO need to be revisited because the BoS approved more density than that which was studied by the County for the December 2009 527 TIA submitted to VDOT. Tysons will not succeed without adequate roads; we need to know what those are given the larger amount of construction that is proposed in the many re-zoning applications. Table 7 is likely to get larger.

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