By Melissa Quinn
Delegate Rob Krupicka (D-45) wants Richmond to help pay for the multimillion-dollar Potomac Yard Metro station, but his gambit hinges on the governor’s transportation bill.
The freshman state legislator has introduced a bill that would redirect state tax revenue from the neighborhood’s development — as well as future sales and use taxes — back to the Port City. The dollars would then go toward paying off the estimated $250 million Metro stop.
While City Hall will have to borrow money to fund the majority of the project, dipping into state tax revenue streams — capped at $1.25 million per year — could potentially cover interest on the municipal bonds.
It’s an idea that has strong local support. City officials have joined members of the business community to back the legislation.
“I applaud Delegate Krupicka, who was and consistently continues to be a strong advocate and supporter of the Potomac Yard Metro to try to tackle the governor’s transportation bill to have additional funds added that would support and fund the Metro here in Alexandria,” said Mayor Bill Euille.
According to the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, which has also thrown its weight behind Krupicka’s proposal, the state would pay for as much as 10 percent of the station’s construction cost over 30 years. And it also would serve as a signal from Richmond that the state supports the project, said Skip Maginnis, the chamber’s government relations chair.
“It’s telling everybody — other bond issuers, developers — the state is stepping up and putting their money behind this project,” he said. “It adds a huge confidence factor to the whole process.”
Maginnis joined Krupicka in Richmond last month as the bill went before the House of Delegates’ finance committee. Accompanied by chamber president John Long III and Deputy City Manager Mark Jenks, the three sung the bill’s merits.
The committee ultimately tabled the bill after a tie vote. While Krupicka’s legislation enjoyed support, committee members believed the issue must wait on Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) transportation proposal, Maginnis said.
“The politics at the moment at the state legislature is that everyone is focused on what to do with the governor’s transportation bill,” Maginnis said. “This was seen as something they didn’t want to deal with separately because it is a transportation issue even though it’s a quite different issue.”
Despite the setback, city officials still believe there is a chance for the legislation to end up on the governor’s desk. Krupicka can reintroduce the bill at any time.
“Delegate Krupicka, in his wisdom, said, ‘let’s not close our eyes to an opportunity,’” Euille said. “’Let’s see if we can convince the governor for a Metro stop in Alexandria.’ That in and of itself is a good thing and it would go a long way to provide viability for a Metro at Potomac Yard.”