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 Biesiadny, director of the county's Department of Transportation.
That gap leaves a $3 billion deficit over 10 years, or $300 million per year.
The federal and Virginia governments have no money to give, Biesiadny 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.
Residents will have the opportunity to take an online survey here from Sept. 24 to Oct. 12.