Thursday, December 17, 2009

**UPDATED** Healthcare Filibuster Threatens Hundreds of Millions for Mt. Vernon Road Improvements

During my campaign, I repeately argued that the key to bringing jobs and improving the Mount Vernon economy, schools, and quality of life was bringing significant improvements to U.S. 1. While speaking last week at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Richmond Legislative Agenda meeting, I noted that I could not think of a single road in the 44th District that has been widened in my lifetime (since August, 1971) notwithstanding years of fighting for improvements by our officials. This is something that simply has to change.

While knocking doors, I also found thousands of Mount Vernon residents who were extremely worried about the traffic impacts of BRAC. The Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Belvoir BRAC improvements (see Page 4-82) predicted that commuters could be looking at three to four hour delays to get on base if U.S. 1 and I-95 were not improved. That would not help.

The biggest problem to improving our roads and Metro is revenue and the Virginia Department of Transportation's lack of it. And given our new administration, we need to work creatively to secure revenue from as many sources as possible. The very first bullet on my campaign transportation agenda was this:
Fight to ensure that the federal government adequately funds mass transit and transportation projects, especially to support the move of 19,300 jobs to Fort Belvoir.

Tonight, the Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog is reporting that Congressman Jim Moran may have secured $300 million in funding to mitigate transportation impacts at the Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital and Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda. $100 million would widen an awful lot of roadway.

Unfortunately, this funding is part of the Defense Appropriation Bill that the Republicans are filibustering right now as a tactic to hold up health care reform. The obstructionist games in Washington is now really hitting home here in the 44th. People in Mount Vernon and in all of Northern Virginians should be outraged.

Call Senator Warner and Senator Webb to voice your support to end this filibuster, improve our roads, and get on with the People's business.

The Senate voted to end debate after midnight. Fillibuster avoided by three votes for now.

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