Remaking traffic-choked Tysons Corner into a city isn’t going to be cheap. It will take an estimated $1.7 billion over the next 20 years to build an urban street grid, widen major roads and enhance bus service.

So how does Fairfax County foot the bill? By splitting the cost between the public and the private sector. County staff is suggesting that the public fund $991 million in improvements, and that Tysons landowners pay $706 million. These costs exclude the first phase of the Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport, which Fairfax is helping to fund through a special tax on landowners.

Last year, county staff outlined a mix of financing options, mostly tax increases, to pay for transportation improvements in Tysons. The staff briefed  the Planning Commission’s Tysons Committee during a meeting Thursday. The committee will decide what projects should receive funding and will develop a financing plan for the Board of Supervisors to consider this year.

At the meeting, the McLean Citizens Association advocated for a funding split that is used to pay for road improvements in the Route 28 corridor. That method allocates 75 percent of the cost to the landowners in exchange for more density, and 25 percent to taxpayers. 

But in Tysons, the proposed funding split “puts the majority of the risk on taxpayers,” said Rob Jackson, president of the association. “The public needs to be protected against tax increases.”