Cameron Station opposes paying tab for cross-town metro


More residents are weighing in on the special tax district debate as city officials prepare to settle on a final financial package for a new Potomac Yard Metro stop in coming weeks. 

The original proposal to draw up a special tax district around the planned station, including the nascent Potomac Yard redevelopment, has drawn fire from nearby homeowners in Potomac Green. 

Open to a new Metro stop, Alexandria Citizens for Common Cents wants the city to share the financial burden instead of realizing their plan for a special district, intact since the 1990s. It would include Potomac Green homeowners. 

The protest hasnt derailed the plan, but is putting officials in a bind. Nixing the special tax district leaves about a $25 million hole in the $240 million project, money that would likely come from the development of Potomac Yard already designated for city services or from scaling back the project.

Now Cameron Station residents want city officials to know they dont plan on paying for a new Metro stop across town either. In a letter sent to city council November 4, Cameron Station Civic Association President Dak Hardwick argues against asking taxpayers citywide to shoulder the cost of the project. 

The key here is who is going to benefit the most from construction of the Metro, Hardwick said. Clearly, the folks in Potomac Yard or the general vicinity, not anyone in [the] Beauregard [corridor] If certain neighborhoods are going to really benefit, they should bear some of the cost for that material benefit.

Hardwick doesnt take issue with Potomac Green homeowners protesting the special tax district, but he does point out Cameron Station residents pay for a Van Dorn shuttle as part of the neighborhoods transportation management plan. If neighbors near Potomac Yard want him to pay for their Metro station, its only fair to ask they return the favor, he said.

While Mark Anderson, spokesman for ACCC, understands Cameron Station residents point of view, he argues Metro access is a citywide service enjoyed by all. 

We have no problem with people saying we dont want to pay taxes, Anderson said. You can pretty much say, well Cameron Station doesnt want to pay for a Metro in Potomac Yard and we dont want to pay for one on Eisenhower Avenue as well, but clearly that has a public use. Thats something for the city council to determine.

Vice Mayor Kerry Donley expects the council to address the Potomac Green issue within the next 90 days.