The following is an update to my previous communicationabout the Reston Transportation Service District Advisory Board. To recap, the Advisory Board’s role is to review and advise Fairfax County on the tax rate for the new Transit Service Area (TSA) tax that residents start paying in 2018 and advise on the allocation of funds.
We met on Thursday, April 5, to discuss and recommend the 2019 TSA tax rate and to discuss and recommend the allocation of funds for an intersection improvement. Meeting minutes and the handouts are available https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/transportation/reston-transportation-advisory-board.
The county’s minutes document the Advisory Board’s unanimous vote to keep the 2019 TSA tax rate at 2.1 cents per $100 valuation, despite a comment from a member (me) that I’d prefer a zero tax rate. But given that the transportation improvements are critical to Reston and the county has established the TSA tax as required to partially fund the improvements, everyone voted yes.
The minutes also show that the Advisory Board voted to recommend that $500,000 be allocated towards funding the interim project to ameliorate the congestion at the corner of Fairfax County Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive. This is the second most congested intersection in Reston. Funds to address the most congested intersection, Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive, will come from another source. The county agreed to provide metrics, i.e. intersection projected wait time improvements, the next time they recommend funding a project.
There was a clarification of the pedestrian bridge issue. Apparently, there will be two bridges leading to the Reston station. One bridge from the south side of Sunset Hills Drive over the Toll Road to the station will be available when the station opens. A second pedestrian bridge, across the north side of Sunset Hills Drive to the south side, will not be be in place until Boston Properties completes phase 2 of the Reston Gateway development. No projected date was available. In the meanwhile, pedestrians will have to cross the 4-lane Sunset Hills Drive which has few crosswalks and even fewer traffic lights.
Since the Reston Transportation planning studies are performed are every five years and the next one isn’t due until 2021, I asked the county to provide statistics on automobile registrations prior to our next meeting. The numbers of cars registered in Reston can act as a surrogate traffic congestion metric, prior to the formal studies. The county agreed to provide these.
The Advisory Board again questioned the accuracy of the 45% Reston residential vacancy rate and whether it includes the new high-rises opened in 2018. The county agreed to contact the source of the information and get back to the group. Updates will be posted when available.
County staff also agreed to recirculate information about which projects will be funded through the TSA service district and which ones will be funded by other means. And finally, in the fall, the Advisory Board plans to discuss whether it wants to suggest a 2020 tax rate prior to the county advertising their suggested maximum TSA tax rate.
The posted minutes and handouts provide additional details.
Hank Schonzeit, CDP
RCA Board of Directors
RTSDAB Rep for RTC Homeowners