- Why do we need a Metrorail Station at Potomac Yard?
- How is the Potomac Yard Metrorail station to be financed?
- Does the Potomac Yard Metrorail station require using tax monies raised in other areas of the City to pay for the proposed station?
- How will the City fund the design and construction of the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station?
- How does the Potomac Yard Metrorail station represent a major economic development opportunity for the City?
- Why a Metrorail station in this location?
- What is the National Environmental Policy Act?
- What are the roles of the City, FTA, WMATA, and NPS in the NEPA process?
- What is the public's role in the NEPA process?
Building a new Metrorail station is central to the vision for the redevelopment of Potomac Yard as a smart-growth, walkable mixed-use community, with access to high-quality retail, entertainment, and parks. A new Metrorail station will help to accommodate the growing transportation demand in the Route 1 corridor. A Metrorail station in Potomac Yard will provide benefits to the community and region by:
- Maximizing the number of people taking transit to and from the Potomac Yard area by providing direct access to Metrorail;
- Removing thousands of cars from the Route 1 corridor every day;
- Enabling a mix of uses in an environment where people can walk or bike to destinations in Potomac Yard for their daily needs;
- Providing a vibrant destination for all Alexandrians with a mix of uses, including significant shopping and public parks;
- Strengthening and diversifying the tax base to improve the long-term economic stability of the City.
The Potomac Yard Metrorail station is planned to be financed by a combination of taxes generated from new development in Potomac Yard, a real estate tax levy surcharge on Potomac yard property, as well as grant monies from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
The funding plan for the Metrorail station will use money generated by the redevelopment of Potomac Yard. These revenues are deposited into a pot called the "Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Fund" which can only be used for the design, construction, and financing of the Metrorail station. The fund includes developer contributions; revenue from two special tax districts in Potomac Yard; regional, state, and federal grants; and net new tax revenues in Potomac Yard (existing tax revenues and new revenues needed to support City and school public service demands from Potomac Yard development will go into the City's General Fund).
The City updates the bond rating agencies annually regarding this project, and they continue to give the City of Alexandria the best bond rating (AAA/Aaa). The City has recently updated the financial analysis for the Metrorail station. The analysis found that the City can finance the Metrorail station with no funds diverted from the General Fund. Both alternatives also have a positive return on investment over the long term. In addition, the analysis found that the City will make a surplus after 30 years of debt service. This surplus will be used to pay for services throughout the City.
A Metrorail station will attract more businesses and jobs to the City. Over 80% of all office building construction in the DC Metropolitan area is taking place within ¼ mile of an existing Metrorail station. Potomac Yard represents smart-growth transit oriented development in generating new tax revenue for the City. When completed, Potomac Yard could add as much as 26,000 new jobs to the City which would represent over a 25% increase in the City's employment base. It is estimated that over about a 30 year period as much as some $888 million in net new tax revenue will be generated to be available to help fund services and capital investments citywide.
Potomac Yard is a 235 acre site which was one of the largest freight rail yards on the East coast of the US until it closed in 1989. Given its acreage, location in the inner urban core of the DC metropolitan area, and adjacency to the Metrorail Blue and Yellow lines, building a Metrorail station at this site would help unlock and increase the economic development potential of Potomac Yard. Currently the 3.1 mile distance between the Braddock Road and Reagan National Airport Metrorail stations is the longest stretch of Metrorail line inside the Beltway without a station.
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of the environmental effects of certain proposed projects prior to making decisions. The NEPA process is meant to help public officials make better informed decisions, and to enable community involvement with those decisions. The NEPA process is required for the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station process so that the project can be eligible for federal funding and because some of the alternatives may affect the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
- The City of Alexandria is the project sponsor and joint lead agency.
- The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is the lead federal agency, because the City will be seeking federal funding for a portion of the project.
- The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is a cooperating agency because they would operate the station once it is built.
- The National Park Service (NPS) is a cooperating agency because of its role in administering the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Throughout the NEPA process, members of the public have provided oral and written feedback at public meetings and have also submitted written feedback through email and postal mail. Public feedback helped to shape the alternatives analyzed as part of the Draft EIS, and highlighted resource areas of particular concern to the community. The public has been engaged through:
- Public meetings and community group meetings
- Project newsletters
- Interaction with community organizations
- The Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Group (PYMIG), which was created by the Alexandria City Council to assist in the EIS process. PYMIG members include representatives from City Council, various City commissions, and the public. Members of the public are also invited to attend PYMIG meetings and offer feedback.