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Business Facts & Figures

Stafford County, Virginia has the essentials necessary for smart business growth and long-term prosperity

Situated just 25 miles south of the Washington, DC Beltway and 50 miles north of Richmond, Stafford’s location is ideal.  The County offers a simplified approach to doing business, along with amenities like beautiful parks, award-winning law enforcement, championship golf courses, and nationally ranked schools.  The rapid growth of high technology companies, combined with a low-cost way of doing business, has created a hotbed of local professional opportunities.

These attributes, along with a diverse and highly educated labor pool, make Stafford an obvious choice for helping to ensure successful businesses.  Stafford County’s schools, tax rates, roadways and housing opportunities provide a desirable place for the local workforce. The appealing quality of life allows businesses to attract and retain some of the best professional employees in the world.

We welcome you and your business to grow and prosper in Stafford, Virginia!

Stafford County – One of Virginia’s fastest growing counties

Stafford’s location is ideal!  We are situated just 25 miles south of the Washington, DC Beltway and 50 miles north of Richmond.

The County offers a pro-business climate, with quality of life amenities like beautiful parks, award-winning law enforcement, championship golf courses, and nationally ranked schools.

Stafford is home to national and international companies such as:
            Geico          Intuit           SAIC
            General Dynamics      ManTech
             Hilldrup             Greencore

The appealing quality of life is attractive to both professional employees and business executives.

Transportation

Stafford County is located along Interstate 95, providing accessibility to major markets and more than two-thirds of the U.S population within a day’s drive.  With US Route 1 providing a parallel and alternate route, north-south travel couldn’t be more convenient.  With its central location between Virginia’s capital in Richmond and the nation’s capital, major national and international airports are also as close as 45 minutes away.

Highways

Stafford County has nearly 600 miles of state-maintained roadways, including 16 miles along Interstate 95, 46 miles of primary roads, and approximately 550 miles of secondary roads.

  • I-95 connects Stafford from north to south with interchanges located at mile markers 148, 143, 140, 136, and 133.
  • US Route 17 passes through the southwest portion of Stafford, overlapping briefly with I-95.  Both I-66 and I-81 are easily accessed via US-17.
  • US Route 1 provides additional north-south highway alternatives, running parallel to I-95.
  • Virginia Route 3 offers east-west connections to US Route 301, as well as the Hampton Roads region.
  • The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) maintains all primary and secondary roads in Stafford County.

Airports

Four major airports – three international and one national – are easily accessible from Stafford via major highways.  The Stafford Regional Airport, a general aviation airport, is also located in the County, off I-95 at exit 136.

National Airports

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA):  Accessible via Interstate 95 and just 45 minutes to the north, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is located in Arlington, VA just across the Potomac River from the Nation’s Capital.  Reagan National offers non-stop service to destinations within 1,250 miles of Washington, D.C., daily non-stop flights to 74 U.S. cities, and direct service to three Canadian cities on 12 domestic airlines. General aviation services are also available.

International Airports

Dulles International Airport (IAD):  Just 60 minutes to the north via Interstate 95/Interstate 495 (or US-17 to VA-28), Washington Dulles International Airport is located in Chantilly, VA.   Dulles offers daily non-stop service to 88 U.S. cities and direct service to 42 foreign cities on 23 international airlines.  In addition to commercial air service, 23 carriers offer air cargo service. The Dulles Airport is located in Foreign Trade Zone #137 and offers materials handling and warehousing services in 540,000 square feet of operations space.

Richmond International Airport (RIC):  Less than 60 minutes to the south via Interstate 95/Interstate-295, Richmond International Airport offers non-stop flights to major domestic destinations and connective service to points around the globe.  With eight air carriers operating daily passenger service, Richmond offers an easily accessible alternative to the bigger airports in Washington, DC and Baltimore.  RIC also handles approximately 85 million pounds of cargo annually, utilizing its more than 100,000 square feet of warehouse/office space and 1,000,000 square feet of ramp space.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI-Marshall):  Located 90 minutes to the northeast via Interstate 95 (or VA-3 to US-301), Baltimore International serves 40 passenger and cargo airlines.  Non-stop commercial flights to 69 domestic and 10 international destinations are offered daily from BWI-Marshall.

General Aviation

Stafford Regional Airport (RMN):  The 550-acre Stafford Regional Airport, adjacent to Interstate 95, is strategically, and conveniently, located within the fourth largest market in the U.S., just minutes from the Nation’s capital and other Northern Virginia business centers.  Located only 30 miles from the Capital Beltway at Exit 136 off I-95 in Stafford, this general aviation operation serves as a “reliever” airport given its close proximity to Washington metro area facilities.

The Stafford Regional Airport facility includes a 5000-foot by 100-foot instrument runway with full parallel taxiways, Jet-A and Av-Gas fuel storage facilities, and 25 acres of paved aircraft parking aprons.  The Stafford Regional facilities can accommodate 75,000 annual operations and 100 based aircraft, including corporate business jets, with gross weights up to 70,000 pounds and wing spans up to 80 feet.

For more information visit www.staffordairport.com.

Shannon Airport (EZF):  Located about 2 miles southeast of Fredericksburg, and offering a 2999-foot by 100-foot runway, Shannon Airport welcomes private and corporate aircraft.

Hartwood Air Field:  Located in western Stafford on the Stafford-Fauquier County line, this small recreational airstrip can accommodate private and corporate aircraft.

Deep Water Ports

Port of Richmond:  The Port of Richmond is Central Virginia’s domestic and international multi-modal freight and distribution gateway on the James River.   Located 60 minutes south of Stafford via I-95, the Port of Richmond serves waterborne, rail and truck shippers throughout the Mid-Atlantic states.  PCI, the operator, provides stevedoring services on a full range of Supply Chain services including export packaging and transfer, and warehouse and inland distribution services. The Port handles containers, temperature-controlled containers, breakbulk, bulk, and neo-bulk cargo.

Centrally located on the East Coast, halfway between Maine and Florida, the Port of Richmond is in an area that has excellent, multi-modal transportation infrastructure.  In addition, 50% of the nation’s consumers and manufacturing establishments are located within 750 miles of the Port.

Virginia Inland Port:  The Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal serves as an intermodal collection point for containers from West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia and elsewhere.   Located 90 minutes northwest of Stafford via US-17 and I-66, this facility primarily handles import and export containerized and breakbulk cargos.

Port of Virginia:  The Port of Virginia offers world-class shipping facilities and a schedule of approximately 2,500 sailings annually to over 250 ports in 100 foreign countries.  Just two hours southeast of Stafford County, via I-95 and I-64, the Port of Virginia offers one of the largest intermodal networks on the East Coast, handling 1.895 million TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) in 2010, and moving more than 28% of its total business by rail.

The Port of Virginia features the best natural deepwater harbor on the East Coast, with its unobstructed, ice-free harbor, 50-feet-deep channels, and a location 18 miles from the open ocean. In addition, the Port features 20 shipping lines offering weekly service to Europe and Asia, and has the lowest pilferage rate on the East Coast. With its four marine terminals, the Port of Virginia is the third largest volume port on the East Coast in terms of general cargo (breakbulk and containerized cargo).

The Port of Virginia includes Newport News Marine Terminal (NNMT), APM Terminals (APM), Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), and Former Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT) Site.

Port of Baltimore:  Located about 2 hours northeast of Stafford via I-95 or VA-3 to US-301, the Port of Baltimore offers a deepwater terminal handling 50 million tons of cargo annually.

Rail Service

CSX:  CSX Corporation, together with its subsidiaries based in Jacksonville, FL, is one of the nation’s leading transportation suppliers. The company’s rail and intermodal businesses provide rail-based transportation services including traditional rail service and the transport of intermodal containers and trailers.

Overall, the CSX Transportation network encompasses about 21,000 route miles of track in 23 states, including more than 2,000 miles of track in Virginia.  The East Coast’s primary north-south rail line bisects Stafford County, providing freight services to Stafford area businesses.  TRANSFLO terminals are also located in nearby Fredericksburg, offering the leading service for transloading of bulk commodities between rail cars and trucks in the Eastern U.S. and Canada.

Virginia Railway Express:  Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is a transportation partnership between the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC).  VRE operates 30 commuter trains each weekday through Virginia on CSX tracks, providing commuter service to Washington, DC from Stafford’s two stations – Brooke (due east of Stafford Courthouse) and Leeland (in the Falmouth area of southeast Stafford).  Trains only run northbound in the morning and southbound in the evening.

For more information on VRE services and schedules, please visit www.vre.org.

Amtrak:  Twenty-four Amtrak trains operate on CSX tracks in Virginia each day, with passenger service available from two nearby stations – Fredericksburg (FBG) and Quantico (QAN).  Both of these stations offer multiple daily departures in two classes of service – business and coach.  CSX worked closely with Virginia to initiate new round-trip service between Richmond and Washington in 2010.

Trucking & Freight Lines

Stafford businesses are served by more than 30 short and long-haul trucking companies, offering national, regional, and interstate carrier service.  Several of these carriers operate terminal facilities in Stafford including Estes Express, Wilson Trucking, Southeastern Freight, Consolidated Freightways and McLane Mid-Atlantic.

A FedEx processing center is also located in Stafford County near the Stafford Regional Airport.

Utilities

Electric Service

Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 24,300 megawatts of generation, 12,200 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,500 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates one of the nation’s largest natural gas storage systems with 933 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves utility and retail energy customers in 14 states.

Dominion Virginia Power’s diverse mix of generating facilities including nuclear, coal, and renewable sources, provides competitive rates for its customers.  Electric rates for business customers are well below national averages and are among the lowest on the East Coast.

Electric customers in the Greater Fredericksburg area continue to experience outstanding electric reliability.  The average service availability is 99.985% and the amount of time the average customer is without electricity is approximately 76 minutes. Dominion has a number of infrastructure improvement programs underway that will further increase reliability and provide additional capacity to support growth in the region.

Dominion Virginia Power is committed to providing competitively priced electricity in an environmentally responsible manner.  Numerous conservation programs and a green power program are available to customers.  Dominion minimizes its carbon intensity through highly efficient generating facilities and the addition of new renewable generation to its portfolio.  The company is 27% below the industry average in minimizing carbon intensity.

Electric Services Rates

Dominion Virginia Power is a regulated company, and the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) sets all rates.  For business customers, rates are priced as bundled or unbundled, based on estimated consumption and a defined rate class.  Bundled Rate Schedules serve Virginia customers who purchase both the supply (generation and transmission) and delivery (distribution) portions of their electric service as a bundled service from Dominion Virginia Power.

Unbundled Rate Schedules apply to Virginia customers who purchase only the delivery portion of electric service from Dominion Virginia Power. The supply portion of electric service is purchased from another supplier. These rate schedules include the charges only for the delivery of electricity.

Gas & Electric Lines

To view a complete schedule of rates for business users, please visit the Dominion Virginia Power website at: http://dom.com/dominion-virginia-power/customer-service/rates-and-tariffs/business-rates-and-tariffs.jsp.

Other providers of electric service in Stafford County include Rappahannock Electric Cooperative and Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC).

Natural Gas

Columbia Gas of Virginia is one of the nine energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI), providing natural gas service to Stafford County businesses. Serving approximately 245,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers, Columbia is the third largest natural gas utility in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

For over 160 years, Columbia Gas of Virginia has safely and reliably delivered natural gas to customers throughout the Commonwealth. Today, Columbia serves over 81 communities including: Stafford County, Prince William County, Fredericksburg, and many localities throughout Virginia.

Download a map of Columbia’s service territories.

To establish natural gas service for your business, contact Columbia’s New Business team at 1-800-440-6111.

Water & Wastewater Service

Water and wastewater services are provided to Stafford residents by the Department of Utilities. The demand for services has increased approximately 1.4% for fiscal year 2011 and is projected to grow at least 1.5% to 2% per year.  This growth is due to increased population and the need for new water and wastewater infrastructure to support current and future development.  Stafford County Department of Utilities serves approximately 32,100 active accounts, with approximately 1,450 of these being non-residential customers.

The Department is responsible for the system within Stafford’s service area which consists of approximately 50,000 acres along three major transportation corridors: Interstate 95, U.S. Route 1, and U.S. Route 17.  There are no private water and wastewater providers within Stafford and the Department handles overall planning, administration, customer service, daily inspection, and daily operation/maintenance of the system.  All plant operators are fully-trained and licensed and the plants maintain an excellent safety record.

Water Supply

Water to Stafford customers is primarily supplied by two reservoirs, Abel Lake and Smith Lake. Abel Lake Reservoir is located in central Stafford and is impounded by Abel Lake Dam, an earthen embankment. Smith Lake Reservoir is located in northeastern Stafford on Aquia Creek and is impounded by Smith Lake, an earthen embankment with a roller-compacted concrete emergency spillway. The combined safe yield is approximately 13.8 million gallons a day (mgd).

Water treatment is provided by two facilities:  Smith Lake Water Treatment Facility and the Abel Lake Water Treatment Facility.  Smith Lake provides water to the northern region of Stafford and Abel Lake serves the southern region.  The output of both facilities meets or exceeds the standards prescribed by the Virginia Department of Health and the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986.  The transmission and distribution system is comprised of over 593 miles of pipe ranging in size from 2 to 30 inches in diameter.  Two ground storage tanks, two standpipes, and 10 elevated tanks provide water storage of 15.8 million gallons.  The system has five primary and six standby pumping stations.

A third reservoir and water treatment facility are being constructed adjacent to the Rappahannock River.  The new Rocky Pen Run Reservoir Water Treatment Facility is expected to be operational in late spring of 2014.   It will have an initial capacity of 10 million gallons per day (mgd) — with a future maximum capacity of 20-24 mgd – and will draw water from the new Rocky Pen Run Reservoir.  With a capacity of over 5.6 billion gallons, the new reservoir will hold over 65% more than both of the existing reservoirs combined.  The three reservoirs combined will provide sufficient water to meet the domestic, commercial, industrial, and fire suppression needs in Stafford County for the next 30 years or more.

Wastewater Treatment

Wastewater treatment is provided by two facilities: the Little Falls Run Wastewater Treatment Facility and the Aquia Wastewater Treatment Facility, with current permitted capacity of 8 mgd and 6.5 mgd, respectively.  These were the first treatment facilities in the Northern Virginia area utilizing biological nutrient removal.  Both utilize ultraviolet light disinfection and the low-load aeration system, which allows higher flow rates without adversely affecting treatment.  Stafford County has installed centrifuges to de-water the sludge, which is taken to the regional landfill.  The wastewater collection and transmission system consists of approximately 415 miles of gravity sewers, 88 pump stations, and 57 miles of associated sewer force mains.

Stafford Utilities Fee Structure

Stafford County Utilities’ service and associated fees are comprised of three components: Pro Rata fees, Availability fees, and User fees.  Each component is defined below, along with a list of current fees.

As part of the site plan approval process, businesses (or their hired engineers) will be required to complete a Water Meter Sizing Form.  This information will be used to determine meter size and, in turn, used to calculate both Availability and Pro Rata Fees.

Pro Rata Fees

Stafford has adopted a Water and Sewer Pro Rata Policy to finance the water and sewer infrastructure shown in the General Water Improvement Program and General Sewer Improvement Program.  The infrastructure projects financed under the policy include water transmission mains, pumping stations, and storage tanks, as well as sewage interceptor sewers, pumping stations, and force mains.  The policy is applicable to all non-residential site plans and Pro Rata charges are based upon the location of the project.  Rates for each water pressure zone and sewer shed are expressed in terms of dollars per gallon. The charge for each project is calculated by multiplying the estimated flow for the project by the rate for the project area.

For non-residential projects, the flow is determined based on the water meter size, calculated from the number of meter equivalents for each size meter at 350 gallons per day, per meter equivalent.

Pro Rata fees are required to be shown on the coversheet of the site plan (for both water and sewer service) and must be paid before the meter is set.  Current Pro Rata Charges (Per Gallon) are:

Pressure Zone Water
Aquia (310) 1.92
Berea (503) 2.24
Central (370) 4.00
Falmouth (342/320) 3.40
Garrisonville (433) 2.61

 

Drainage Area Sewer
Accokeek 9.26
Aquia 7.47
Austin Run 5.34
Claiborne Run 5.80
Falls Run 10.49
Little Falls Run 9.93
Potomac Creek 16.55
Rocky Pen Run/Horsepen 19.47

Maps of the Pressure Zone and Drainage areas are available on the County’s website at: www.co.stafford.va.us/index.aspx?NID=993.

Availability Fees

Below is a schedule of current Availability Fees:

Service Type Meter Size (In Inches) Number of Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDU) Water Fee Sewer Fee
Availability – All Others & Non-Residential
5/8 1 $6,900 $3,500
3/4 1.5 $10,350 $5,250
1 2.5 $17,250 $8,750
1 1/2 5 $34,500 $17,500
2 8 $55,200 $28,000
3 16 $110,400 $56,000
4 25 $172,500 $87,500
6 50 $345,000 $175,000

User Fees (Per 1,000 Gallons)

Bills for non-residential customers are calculated using a flat rate per 1,000 gallons of water. These rates went into effect on October 13, 2013 and may be adjusted annually.

Water Sewer
Non-residential All usage $3.59 $4.99
Water dependent home-based business All usage $8.98 $4.99
Irrigation, bulk, hydrant and construction meters All usage $13.00 N/A
Monthly service charge Per account $1.66 $1.86
Monthly demand charge Per equivalent meter $4.53 $6.49

The average non-residential water and sewer bill (1 ½” meter and 38,000 gallons usage) is approximately $340 per month.

Establishing Service

Applications are accepted in-person at the Stafford Utilities Office, or over the phone, at least 24 hours prior to the time service is to be initiated.  Applications forms are available on the County’s website at Stafford Utilities Service Application or they can be mailed to you by calling (540) 658-8616.

New construction applicants are encouraged to speak with Department of Utilities’ staff regarding their construction projects.  They can be reached at (540) 658-8630.  Inspection and permit fees are also imposed and should be discussed with Utilities’ staff during the application process.

There is an $80 fee required to obtain water and sewer service to cover both administration and advance service to your project.

Telecommunications

Broadband Providers

State-of-the-art telecommunications services are available throughout most of Stafford County.  The primary service providers include Verizon, Comcast, and Cox Communications, with each company offering a wide range of broadband, mobile, and fiber optic capabilities.

Service connections are generally available within 90 days of request and redundancy is available in defined areas of the County.  Companies needing extensive telecommunications capacities or services are encouraged to contact the Stafford Economic Development Office for assistance in facilitating requests for service with area providers.