Fairfax weighs new taxes to fund transportation

By |
Photo - Traffic along Leesburg Pike in Tysons Corner (Examiner file photo)
Traffic along Leesburg Pike in Tysons Corner (Examiner file photo)
Local,Virginia,Taylor Holland

Fairfax County officials have identified at least 10 different areas to possibly establish or increase taxes to help fill its nearly $3 billion deficit in transportation funding over the next decade.

That comes just days after county officials estimated they would have $8.1 billion in transportation needs over the next 10 years but only $5.1 billion in revenues. The shortfall equates to a roughly $300 million per-year funding gap from now until fiscal 2021.

Among the options being considered is a 1 percent sales tax on services such as haircuts and dry cleaning, which officials say could raise $367.5 million per year. Another option is the implementation of a 4 percent meals tax, which could potentially raise $80 million per year.

Supervisor Pat Herrity, R-Springfield, said the chart basically allows for "people to mark their favorite way to increase taxes" to fund transportation projects, especially work in Tysons Corner.

But before any of the proposed changes are enacted, the county plans to host at least nine transportation-related public meetings and launch a countywide survey for suggestions on how to bridge the funding gap.

The county hopes the meetings will show people the magnitude of the transportation problem, while also starting talks about it before the General Assembly convenes to "show them how angry Fairfax is" with the lack of funding, Supervisor Jeff McKay, D-Lee, said.

"This comes out of our blunt frustration with the lack of action in Richmond," McKay said. "If we let the state off the hook [and continue to operate without sufficient state funding], how are we going to pay for this?"

In addition to the proposed changes, Herrity said he'll push for the county to include the use of development proffers, special tax districts and toll funding, all of which were left off the county's list of ways to raise revenue, to help fund transportation.

"It's all about gauging the level of commitment people want to take," Supervisor John Cook, R-Braddock, said. "If we do this ourselves, and we do it correctly, we get to keep every dime."

The first meeting, scheduled in Herrity's district, is slated for Monday at 7 p.m. at the Springfield Government Center.

tholland@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Taylor Holland

Staff writer
The Washington Examiner