A Fairfax County judge has ruled that a commercial real estate tax used to help fund the rail extension to Dulles Airport is constitutional. According to the Washington Business Journal, Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Stanley Klein approved of the structure in the context of a bond validation suit initiated by Fairfax County and related entities. Fairfax created the Dulles Corridor Phase I Special Improvement Tax District as a funding mechanism to repay bonds issued to fund Fairfax County’s contribution to the rail extension project.
Virginia has seen significant challenges to its attempts to create stable funding mechanisms for transportation over the last several years. The most notable challenge was a successful appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia to significant portions of the overall transportation funding legislation adopted by Virginia’s General Assembly in 2007. In the case of Marshall v. Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, the Supreme Court of Virginia held that the General Assembly violated Virginia’s Constitution by attempting to delegate its taxation powers to unelected multi-district transportation authorities in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.