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Western Alliance for Rail to Dulles Launched

Reston, VA - The Western Alliance for Rail to Dulles (WARD) announces that it has been organized, incorporated and has elected a slate of officers. WARD was created to represent the interests of and to provide a voice for the commercial property owners in the Western Dulles Corridor who are contemplating a special tax district to fund Fairfax County’s share of the extension of MetroRail from Wiehle Avenue to Dulles Airport and beyond into Loudoun County.

WARD started as a group of commercial property owners in the Western Dulles Corridor seeking to represent the interests of and to provide a voice for affected property owners. Currently participating property owners are reaching out to like-minded owners to formulate the necessary petition to levy a commercial property tax to fund Fairfax County's share for the Phase II Rail to Dulles project. The affected property owners believe that the transportation and land use planning benefits of rail in the corridor will outweigh the increased taxes that their properties will bear, and hence are exploring taxing themselves to pay for Fairfax County's share of the project. WARD is planning to draft a petition, to be circulated this summer, calling for a $0.05 to $0.07 per $100 of assessed value increase in the commercial property tax rate for properties within the district to create a rate stabilization fund. Once the Phase II rail project is formally funded by all parties, the tax rate would increase to $0.25 to $0.29 per $100 of assessed value.

The intent of WARD is to provide information, and promote discussion among its members in order to facilitate an informed and inclusive decision. Ultimately, WARD will draft a tax district petition, and if approved by at last 50% of the property owners in the district, it will be submitted to Fairfax County and the Town of Herndon.

Thus far, letters seeking input and financial support have been sent to the largest property owners within the proposed western district. In the very near future, affected property owners will be contacted through the mail to seek their participation in the process. Some of the largest commercial owners in the corridor have already joined WARD, including Boston Properties, Prentiss Properties, Corporate Office Properties Trust, and the Launders Trust. Other owners have pledged their support and the organization is gaining momentum.

WARD Launched

A web site, www.dullesrail.org, has been posted to provide access to developments and discussion points. The discussion points are included to facilitate dialogue and, at this time, neither the property owners nor Fairfax County have formally agreed to any of the points. WARD is encouraging interested parties to visit WARD online to stay current. All are invited to add comments on the Tell Us Your Thoughts bulletin board.

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