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County Faces $3 Billion Transportation Gap

Over next decade, Fairfax County has $8.1 billion in needs, expects $5.1 billion in revenue.

Fairfax County faces an estimated $300 million per year gap in transportation funding for the next 10 years.

From now until fiscal year 2021, the county has $8.1 billion in needs but anticipates only $5.1 billion in revenues, said Tom Biesasiadny, director of the county's Department of Transportation. 

That gap leaves a $3 billion deficit over 10 years, or about $300 million per year.

The federal and Virginia governments have no money to give, Biesasiadny said as he outlined the funding woes during this week's meeting of the county transportation committee.

As a result, the county wants community feedback on ways to increase revenues for much-needed projects.

Officials have posted a list of ways to raise the funds on the county website. Ideas on the table include a 1 percent sales tax on services that could bring in an estimated $367 million per year, or a .5 percent income tax for an estimated $229 million per year.

Board Chairman Sharon Bulova stressed during the meeting the county didn't prefer any one option to another. Aside from the 20 options outlined in the program, projects could also be scaled back.

"I don't think we want to make people believe that … the whole purpose of this is to push new taxes," she said. "The whole purpose of this is to show what the transportation situation is."

Without new revenue sources, projects would fall by the wayside.

"We're not doing this because we want to raise taxes," she said. "If there's not a source of funding to pay for it, this stuff will not get done."

Fairfax's major needs lie in the redevelopment of Tysons Corner, traffic-calming measures as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process and transit projects for Dulles Rail and South County.

The county is launching an outreach program in which residents have from Sept. 24 to Oct. 12 to provide input on how to fix the funding issue.

The outreach program comes weeks after Bulova and leaders from 38 counties, cities and towns in Fairfax County, Richmond and Hampton Roads sent a letter (attached) to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) urging the state to meet its responsibility of meeting transportation infrastructure funding needs.

According to the letter and Tuesday's presentation, Virginia has ranked first or second on CNBC's Best States for Business for the past few years. But in 2012, the state slipped to third and dropped from No. 10 to No. 33 in quality of transportation and infrastructure.

"We have a real maintenance challenge and that affects not just Fairfax County, but it affects everybody in Virginia," Bulova said of the letter.

And expectations for transportation improvements are still high, Sup. Michael Frey (Sully District) said.

"I get people all the time saying, 'When are you going to pave my road?'" he said during Tuesday's meeting. "And it doesn't matter how many times you say, 'No money.'"

The county's outreach program, deemed a "Countywide Dialogue on Transportation," kicks off Sept. 24.

The first of nine meetings is sechduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the Springfield Governmental Center, 6140 Rolling Road, Springfield.

Click here to find a meeting in your neighborhood. 

Residents will have the opportunity to take an online survey here from Sept. 24 to Oct. 12.

DIANE FARFAN September 22, 2012 at 06:00 PM
The fact is, and has always been, that we here in Fairfax have more than enough money. It is that we are expected to send most of it to Richmond where they dislike us, but are more than willing to take our money....and then have the gall to parcel out just a small amount back where it is needed and GENERATED!
Bob Bruhns September 23, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Oh lovely, a $3 Billion transportation funding gap. What can our leaders do? Well, our so-called 'leaders' could START by taking control of Dulles Rail Phase II before MWAA approves double-priced bids and locks us into generations of payments just for the overcost in Phase II. We are already locked into paying the slightly lower, but still massively excessive prices for Phase I. Our so-called 'leaders' have talked about lowering the tolls, but gee - they never say how they might do that. We might surmise: 1) They will have Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy pay the tolls down. 2) They will make money fall out of the sky to pay down the tolls. 3) The federal government will provide Tifia LOANS, and then they will forget about getting paid back. 4) The federal government will provide Tifia LOANS, and then Virginia will pay them back with tax funds. 5) The federal government will provide Tifia LOANS, and then Fairfax and Loudoun Counties will pay them back with tax funds. Face it, folks - it's going to be #4 or #5. My bet is #5.

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