This map shows the chronological order of projects that would be carried out by Alexandria if City Council members pass the add-on tax.
Alexandria's neighboring jurisdictions, Fairfax and Arlington Counties, already tax commercial properties at a higher rate than residential properties to pay for transportation infrastructure. Now, the city is considering implementing a similar tax.
When members of the Alexandria City Council meet today to consider their annual budget for fiscal year 2012, the most controversial agenda item will be a proposal to tax commercial property at a higher rate than residential property to pay for dedicated bus lanes on Beauregard Street and the widening Jefferson Davis Highway.
The special tax is allowed under a Virginia state law that was recently upheld by the Virginia Supreme Court. Arlington and Fairfax Counties are planning to use part of the revenues from their tax to fund a streetcar project along Columbia Pike.
Republican Councilman Frank Fannon is against the idea. "Putting a special tax on twenty-seven hundred properties for transportation that the community is going to share as a whole I believe is inappropriate," he says.
Democratic Councilwoman Del Pepper says it's not over until the City Council casts a vote this afternoon.
"Well, let's say it's one of our options. But whether or not we go that route I don't know we're still debating it," she says.
One potential compromise in the works would ditch the idea of the add-on tax in favor of increasing taxes on everybody.Add-On Tax Proposal