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Loudoun residents will soon have their say in Metro tax districts

photoHighlighted in gray, the proposed overall Metro service tax district is expected to be implemented to pay for initial capital costs. The district, drawn up in the weeks before the final Metro vote in Loudoun, was constructed to exclude all but roughly 35 existing residential properties.

Those keeping tabs on the Dulles rail service tax districts in Ashburn, which can be largely credited with keeping Metro’s Silver Line project on track, will have their first official chance to address Loudoun supervisors regarding the tax at an Oct. 17 public hearing.

In order to start collecting the tax district revenue intended to help fund Silver Line construction, the board will have to adhere to a relatively strict time line.

First on the schedule are community outreach and information sessions leading up to the Oct. 17 hearing. Following input from the public, staff will draw up the ordinance, advertise to the public and a vote from supervisors will come in November or December.

Three tax districts are scheduled to be put in place by the new year, a deal the board agreed on before the July 3 vote that moved the project forward with its current funding partners, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the state and Fairfax County.

One overall district spanning a nearly two-mile radius will be initiated with the intent to pay for the upfront capital costs. While a new board could in the future alter such an agreement, the current supervisors plan to lift the overall district tax once construction costs are paid off. The two smaller districts, located immediately around the Route 606 and Route 772 stations, will remain in place to help pay for ongoing costs.

“The Chamber of Commerce and major land stakeholders support these tax districts understanding they are essential to the Metrorail financing plan,” Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) said.

Initially, the overall rail service district is expected to have a tax rate of 20 cents per $100 of assessed value. All three districts are capped at that rate.

Supervisors have also directed County Administrator Tim Hemstreet to prepare the necessary documents to apply for federal funding through TIFIA, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

A loose time line discussed during the board’s Sept. 5 meeting lists Sept. 18 as the last possible business meeting for approval of materials to advertise the public hearing. Additional dates include: Sept. 19 staff will start the process for advertising the public hearing; Sept. 24 through Oct. 12 staff, at the board’s direction, holds public outreach sessions; Oct. 17, the earliest possible date of public hearing based on state code; and Nov. 1 the last possible day to hold a public hearing to have the tax implemented by Jan. 1.

Hemstreet said he felt confident the necessary measures could be achieved by the deadlines.

photoThe proposed Route 606-Airport Metro Station service tax district, located around what’s expected to be the first Metro Silver Line stop in Loudoun County.

photoOutline of the proposed Route 772 Metro Station service tax district.


These tax districts don’t even cover the costs of the Metro subsidies once the service starts, let alone all the interest on the debt the county is issuing to pay for the construction costs. It will come down to higher taxes for the entire county.

OK. If “the state” didn’t give the DTR jurisdiction over to MWAA, then what would “the state” have done with it regarding the Silverline? Seeing as Loudoun just got all of $200K in secondary road funds back from “the state”, I’m thinking, “the state” wouldn’t have been able to do squat about funding the Silver line extension, and it would be sitting on a shelf as a fairly good idea gone unfunded.

Kaine, and “the state”, ceded the DTR over to MWAA because MWAA could then use the DTR as a money generator to help pay for the Silver Line…which in essence, got the Silver Line off the back of “the state” and alleviated “the state” (ie, the legislature) from having to come up wiht a comprehensive funding source for the Silver line….and perhaps roads, too…which they (all but those from NOVA) clearly aren’t interested in doing.

So, I offer that an answer to all those who continue to want to “question” the turn-over of the DTR to MWAA that occurred under Kaine. If it hadn’t occurred, where would we be.  We’d be doing nothing. So, while I personally don’t like to pay higher tolls now on the DTR, the money to fund the Silver Line had to come from somewhere. And our legislature in Richmond was not about to try to tackle it, due to the control of those down-state reps and delegates. So just like our road funding is pretty much stagnant, so would the Silver Line project.

I also feel the Feds should funding a greater portion of the Silver Line, as Dulles airport was their idea to locate where it is, and it’s their responsibility to finally, 50 years later, provide a non-vehicular access option to it. Frankly, the short-sightedness to NOT build a rail line in the center of the airport lanes 40+ years ago when Metro was just beginning and those lines were being built is still amazing to me.

But then, common sense and politics are old strangers.

The tax districts have been talked about for years, they were only agreed upon at the the end.

I’m still questioning why handing the DTR over MWAA, how that was in Northern va best interest? My second question is why didn’t BOS ask and get a better deal since we had MWAA/Metro in a bind if the deal in Loudoun fell through. Perhaps I’m missing something?

Loudoun - You know we’ll all be paying for it.  These guys hatched their special tax district plan during the closing hours of something like six months of deliberation on the Silver Line.  I’ve yet to see any numbers, real or theoretical, to support that it will work.  They just said “We really want to approve this, so lets tell the idiots that only these tax districts will pay.  We’ll figure it out for real later”.  It looked like amateur hour the whole time York and Co. were negotiating with MWAA, DOT, and Metro.  Yet the voters will probably re-elect these clowns.

Those of us who use the DTR will get to pay twice.  Lucky us.  Maybe it is time to switch to the bus.

So what happens if they can’t get it done in time?  Do they raid the general fund to pay for MWAA’s foie gras luncheon and Mame Reilly’s $180k plus benefits severance package?

Any chance the LTM could upload the “map” of the 2 mile tax district(s) and separate pics that depict all three tax districts.

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