Stafford County could soon tax businesses to pay for the widening of two congested roads.
The Board of Supervisors approved a measure last week to create service districts for State Route 610 and U.S. 17.
But one business owner, who successfully sued the county before, said he plans to fight the measure again.
Attorney Richard Nageotte runs a law practice along 610. He sued Stafford in 2001, and again in 2006, to block the creation of the 610 service district.
In the last Circuit Court decision, the judge ruled that Virginia’s service district law excludes roads under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Department of Transportation.
But the General Assembly has since clarified the statute, giving Stafford the green light to try again.
Although he hasn’t filed suit yet, the attorney said he plans to challenge the measure because it’s unfair to small-business owners.
“The bottom line is the business community shouldn’t be taxed for what is necessary for the entire community,” he said. “If we need improvements to 610, then everyone should pay for them.”
Improvements planned for 610 include widening it from four lanes to six lanes, beginning at Interstate 95 and ending at Onville Road.
Planned changes to U.S. 17 include lane expansions and additional sidewalks. A federal highway, U.S. 17 is used by thousands of out-of-town motorists each day, noted Falmouth Supervisor George Schwartz.
“We’ve got truck traffic coming up and down, tourists, everybody uses that road,” said Schwartz, who was the only supervisor to oppose the service districts. “It’s unfair to tax only the local business to improve that road.”
Funding from VDOT and revenue from the gas tax have helped pay for some road projects. But local officials say more funding is needed to ease congestion on Stafford’s busiest roads.
The levy against businesses is the only viable available option for now, according to Hartwood Supervisor Joe Brito.
“As far as I’m concerned, the service district is the last resort,” he said.
Why is it that only businesses are going to be taxed? How many subdivisions are on these roads that probably account for the majority of traffic on them? The businesses wouldn’t be there if the people didn’t live on the road.
From what I can see on Google Earth of the area, there has to be over a dozen different subdivisions on a couple mile section of 610 (Garrisonville Road). Expert planning there Stafford County.