Monday, July 22, 2019

Senator Surovell's Official Comment on G.W. Parkway Safety

Stone Bridge on G.W. Parkway carrying Alexandria Avenue
The letter below was my initial public comments on improving traffic safety on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  I will provide supplemental comments on completion of my constituent survey - 450 comments and counting!

You can complete my survey by using this link!


www.bit.ly/GWPSurvey


Monday, July 15, 2019

Provide Public Comment on The G.W. Parkway Safety Study!

Stone Bridge on G.W. Parkway at Alexandria Avenue
All who live in Mt. Vernon understand how unsafe conditions have become on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

Violent collisions occur on a regular basis. Cyclists and pedestrians risk their lives to get on the bike trail or catch the 11-Y bus.  Many collisions are even fatal.  You can read more about my thoughts about why this is happening here:

Thanks to Congressman Don Beyer, the National Park Service is now taking official public comments on safety solutions for the George Washington Memorial Parkway from July 11 to August, 21, 2019.

I have designed a survey that also includes areas for open ended comments to collect feedback from the Mt. Vernon Community.  At the conclusion of the comment period, I will aggregate all of the comments and provide them to the National Park Service to ensure that your voice is heard.

You can find information regarding the study on the NPS official website here:


Please complete my survey and provide your comments below!

http://bit.ly/GWPkwyStudy

Weekly Column: Time to Speak Up to Fix the Parkway

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of July 15, 2019.
On July 11, over 150 people attended a National Park Service (NPS) meeting to share comments on NPS’s safety study and the future of the southern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  Delegate Paul Krizek, Congressman Don Beyer and I have been asking for a safety study for four years and so far NPS has produced excellent information. 
I have lived about two blocks from the Parkway most of my life and significant changes have occurred.  The Defense Department moved 15,000 new employees to Fort Belvoir after 2005 has proven to be a real tipping point.  More specifically, many people who live in Maryland and worked at Walter Reed Medical Center now come across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and take the Parkway south to the Walker Gate.  In the evening rush hour, they race north and switch to Fort Hunt Road to access I-495 gridlocking Fort Hunt Road.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Weekly Column: Working to Stop Gun Violence

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of July 8, 2019.
Working to Stop Gun Violence 
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has called the state legislature to Richmond this week for a special session to focus on measures to reduce firearm violence in the state.  Addressing this problem is long overdue. 
Last year, guns killed more people than car accidents in Virginia.  The majority of those deaths were people committing suicide.  
Just last week, three people were shot in the Fairfax County portion of the 36th District in Gum Springs and Rose Hill.  The week before that, two people were found shot to death in the woods off Featherstone Road in Woodbridge.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Weekly Column: Decision Helps Keep Drinking Water Safe

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of June 23, 2019.

Decision Helps Keep Drinking Water Safe
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision that has major significance for Virginia and especially for Northern Virginia, in addition to their decision on redistricting. 
Few realize that Virginia has a series of uranium lodes that run along the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The largest lode is in Pittsylvania County on the North Carolina border, but a major series of lodes are in Madison, Culpeper and Fauquier Counties at the headwaters of the Occoquan River.  The Occoquan is a major source of drinking water for Fairfax and Prince William Counties.  
After Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island near disaster in 1979, a partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor, the Virginia General Assembly in 1982 enacted a moratorium on uranium mining.  While some federal permits are required for uranium mining, most thought that the states were allowed to adopt more stringent environmental protections as they are for any other mining or environmental requirements.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Weekly Column: More Work Needed to Stop Unrepresentative Districts

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of June 16, 2019.
More Work Needed to Stop Unrepresentative Districts
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, a gerrymandering case.  Justice Ginsberg essentially wrote that the Virginia House of Delegates was not allowed to bring the appeal.
Here is some background.  The General Assembly is required by the Constitution of Virginia and  the U.S. Constitution’s  Fifth Amendment to redraw congressional and state legislative districts after each census.  In 2011, the General Assembly held a special session.  Republicans held the majority in the House of Delegates, Democrats controlled the state Senate and Republican Governor Bob McDonnell was in office.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Metro Shutdown Begins Saturday

Crumbling Platform Braddock RdThis summer, Metro will shut down all six stations south of DCA. This work is the result of dedicated funding I supported in the 2019 budget. Metro will be providing shuttle bus services. Please find information below from Metro, VDOT, and the Washington Area Bicycling Association about transportation alternatives including bicycle and bus services.

2019 Platform Improvement Project Activities

Metro's contractor will work concurrently at all six stations south of National Airport in summer 2019 to expedite construction and ensure the stations are ready to reopen for customers after September 8.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Thoughts On Changes to the GW Parkway

Due to last week's fatal collision, there has been renewed discussion in safety on the George Washington Parkway (GWP) in the last week.

Delegate Paul Krizek and I have been working with Congressman Don Beyer to do something about this for some time. 


Two years ago, the National Park Service stated they intended to conduct a traffic safety study.  That has not occurred yet.

In the meantime, as we move forward with a discussion about dealing with safety deficiencies on the road, we have been hearing lots of ideas about how to reconfigure the road including major changes to intersections, lanes, or stoplights.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Weekly Column: Northern Virginia’s Public Schools Are Not “Fully Funded”

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of April 29, 2019.

Northern Virginia’s Public Schools Are Not “Fully Funded”

As election year heats up, some candidates use terms like “fully funded” schools.  Here’s my perspective on the subject.   
First, Virginia’s median family income is ninth in the United States.  It is largely driven by Northern Virginia counties: Fairfax County (3rd - $106,690), Stafford County (5th - $95,927), and Prince William County (6th – $93,011).  Fairfax, Stafford and Prince William Counties rank in the top 1% of all American jurisdictions - 3rd, 19th and 20th in the entire USA.  
However, per pupil investment in elementary-secondary education ranks orders of magnitude lower.  Virginia is 22nd in the country in per pupil spending, averaging around $11,432.  Arlington County leads Virginia at $19,348 per student even with a lower median income than Fairfax County.  Fairfax County “fully funds” FCPS by spending 21% less than Arlington or $15,293 per student, Prince William spends $12,427 and Stafford spends $11,319.  

Monday, April 1, 2019

Tell VDOT to Give Cyclists and Pedestrians and Cyclists a Safer Way to Cross a Multimodal U.S. 1 in 7 years!



VDOT is finalizing plans to widen U.S. 1. One of the important decisions they still need to make is whether to install an underpass below the highway at Little Hunting Creek and another at Dogue Creek.  Over the last public hearing, they have received mixed feedback over whether meeting attendees would "use" the underpass, but the meetings were largely attended by people who do not live near the crossings.

The underpass would provide many benefits:

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Weekly Column: Major Bills From 2019 Session

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of March 26, 2019.

The 2019 General Assembly Session ended on February 28.  In the last two columns I covered my personal legislative agenda and the state budget.  In this column, I will highlight some other important bills that passed.  
We enacted two significant economic development packages.  While I am generally skeptical of using taxpayer dollars for economic development incentives such as movie production tax credits, I am supportive to projects that can generate long-term jobs.  
The Amazon project is projected to create between 25,000 and 37,500 jobs with average wages of $150,000 or more.  The Commonwealth has committed to fund $22,000 per job for the first 25,000 jobs and $15,564 per job for the second 12,500 jobs after they are created. Tax revenue will pay for each commitment within a few years of creation and will have a 6:1 lifetime return on investment for taxpayers over $1.2 billion of new tax revenue overall.  The Commonwealth has also committed to $295 million of transportation investments into Metro, National Airport, and U.S. 1 which will make the community truly multimodal.  Virginia Tech has also committed to build a $1 billion Innovation Campus next door. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Comment on Route 1 Widening in Fairfax County


Next week, VDOT will host public information sessions on the future of U.S. 1 widening in Fairfax County. This is your opportunity to learn about the project and make your voice heard before the final design is established. The event will be at Mount Vernon High School from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on March 26.

I am collecting comments and will share them with VDOT. Please complete my survey herehttp://bit.ly/Rt1CommentForm