Your View: Support robust tax to fund streetcars


To the editor:
The Northern Virginia Streetcar Coalition board of directors has voted to endorse the proposal to enact a robust commercial real estate tax option for transportation in the City of Alexandria. 
The Coalition strongly supports the development of a regional connected streetcar network in Northern Virginia. Arlington and Fairfax have enacted commercial real estate tax options to help pay for regional transit projects, including streetcars. In order to help construct a truly regional high-capacity transit network, Alexandria should do the same. 
The commercial real estate tax option is the primary broad-based tool that the Commonwealth of Virginia has given to localities in Northern Virginia to pay for transportation improvements. Alexandria should use this tool and consider other funding sources as well. 
Streetcars and other light rail transit systems have induced smart-growth, mixed-use, transit-oriented development in cities throughout the United States and around the world. The economic development and financial benefits provided by these systems have far exceeded their costs in other jurisdictions. Alexandria businesses would benefit greatly from such investment.  
We believe the City of Alexandria should dedicate the proceeds from this tax to high-capacity transit projects in the transit corridors identified by the citys transportation master plan, particularly where the projects promote regional connectivity.