Thursday, July 29, 2010

$150 Million for U.S. 1 Dies in the U.S. Senate

Last week, the funds secured by Congressman Jim Moran died when the U.S. Senate refused to pass a cloture motion on a supplemental defense appropriations bill. I previously wrote about these funds in these articles:

These funds were going to be used to widen U.S. 1 between Telegraph Road and Woodlawn Road and build a new ramp from I-95 to the Engineering Proving Ground. This was to help with the existing and coming traffic due to the opening of the expanded Dewitt Hospital, the opening of Mulligan Road, opening of the National Geospatial Intelligence Headquarters, and to help and other personnel transfers to Fort Belvoir as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC).

I spoke to Congressman Moran on Tuesday and to describe him as frustrated is an understatement. Hundreds of hours by dozens of people went into this effort and it was basically scuttled due to the excessive partisanship that frequently precedes federal elections.

This money may come back, but it will require entirely new legislation and a new appropriation, and the entire process is now delayed by at least six months.
Congressman Moran should be commended for his efforts. He fought hard for this money and will continue to fight to make this happen. He is a true partner when it comes to focusing on U.S. 1 infrastructure improvements.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Getting Ready for U.S. 1 Transit

In 1994, then Delegate Toddy Puller pushed through legislation authorizing a new U.S. 1 Centerline Study to begin the process of substantially redeveloping U.S. 1 from Alexandria to Fredericksburg.

The study was completed last fall (16 years later), but it did not recommend a new centerline for U.S. 1 between Woodlawn and the City of Alexandria because the Federal Highway Administration requires a transit study for all road changes that contemplate transit improvements such as Metro or light rail.

I read about this during the session and raised the issue with our Congressmen. Congressman Connolly's office pointed out federal stimulus dollars were still available, so I raised the issue with Supervisor Gerry Hyland who got the ball rolling on a grant application. Last week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to apply for federal stimulus monies to complete the transit study for U.S. 1. The letter I wrote in support of the grant is below.

Anyone else who has an interest in seeing U.S. 1 transit become a reality should write to Secretary LaHood as well.

Delegate Scott Surovell Letter to Secretary Ray LaHood

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Changes at the Department of Motor Vehicles

Starting on Tuesday, the new Lorton Customer Service Center of the Department of Motor Vehicles will open. Located at 7714 Gunston Plaza (see below), the Lorton branch will be replacing the longtime DMV location in Springfield Mall. The Lorton Center is roughly 1800 square feet larger than the Springfield location, and has been designed to be a more efficient and comfortable area for customers. Combined with lower rent and utility costs, the new center is hopefully going to save the DMV nearly $100,000/year.

Hours of operation at the Lorton CSC will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

U.S. 1 Funding Inches Closer

Late last year, Congressman Moran secured $150 million of federal earmarks to widen U.S. 1 and improve the I-95 Newington Interchange to help mitigate impacts from the influx of traffic that is coming from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) changes.

I wrote about this on this blog and in the Mount Vernon Gazette here:

I also wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Army asking him to consider my views on how this money should be invested within the U.S. 1 corridor. You can read my letter to the Secretary here:

At one point in December, 2009, these funds were also held up by a filibuster. I wrote about that here.

This funding is currently on the verge of passing, but is wrapped up with other controversial provisions. The legislation is set to be debated by the U.S. Senate next week. I wrote a letter to our U.S. Senators below.

I would encourage everyone in Mount Vernon to write to our U.S. Senators to push this legislation through.

Warner-Webb US 1 7-10-10

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Liquor Production is Back in Fairfax

Last week, the Mount Vernon Estate sampled its first line of its new whiskey manufactured at its Dogue Creek Distillery here in the 44th District.

The whiskey is based upon George Washington's original recipe. Bottles went for $85 and all 471 sold out their first day on the market. You can listen to WTOP's story here.
The Bowman Company formerly distilled Virginia Gentleman Bourbon Whiskey in Sunset Hills, VA which is today known as Reston. In the 1960's, they moved their operations to Spotsylvania, VA.
The Gristmill and Distillery are part of the Mount Vernon Estate, but physically separated from the property. You can read an interesting description of the operation here.

Thank you to Mount Vernon's Senator Toddy Puller who introduced and shephered legislation through the General Assembly to make this possible.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Fair Shake for U.S. 1

Senator Toddy Puller and I had a Op-Ed piece published in today's Washington Post regarding U.S. 1. Last week, I read that the County was considering investing $1.5 billion in Tyson's Corner road improvements after Tyson's Corner has already received billions of infrastructure investments via the new Silver Line. I do not think that is a fair allocation of Fairfax County's tax dollars.

You can read the entire article here:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mount Vernon At Home Senior Survey

This week Senator Toddy Puller and I sent a letter to Mount Vernon area seniors jointly with Mount Vernon At Home, a local organization dedicated to helping area residents live safely and comfortably in their homes as long as they like. The Mount Vernon area has one of the largest populations of seniors in the Washington Metro area and as our community ages, we are faced with more questions about how best to server their needs.

Mount Vernon At Home is one approach to meeting the needs of area seniors. The organization attempts to provide social programs, transportation and support services to seniors who have decided to 'age in place.' Jeff Reed, Mount Vernon At Home's executive director is working all the time to provide the services and programs area seniors need. You can find more information about Mount Vernon At Home on their website, here.

Additionally, the General Assembly has taken steps to to authorize zoning ordinance exceptions for fully equipped temporary health care structures or “MedCottages” in caregivers’ back yards. These buildings are modular housing units that are attached to an existing home’s utilities, but allow a person who requires health care to remain close to a caregiver, but not require a full addition to a home. I co-sponsored legislation, along with Speak Howell, to provide for such zoning exceptions.

Other members of the General Assembly have proposed other solutions, including real estate tax abatement programs. There are a vast number of possible actions which can be pursued and feedback and suggestions are critical to making progress on the issue. With that in mind, Senator Puller, Mount Vernon At Home and I have put together a survey for area seniors to comment on what issues they are concerned about and ideas about how to meet their needs throughout Mount Vernon. If you would like to take the survey please follow the link below and complete the form. Feedback and comments are critically important on this issue so that we can be effective representatives next year in Richmond.

Scenes Around the 44th on the 4th

Here's my 4th of July Schedule.

Saturday, July 3, 2010
10:00 a.m. Southwood Community Parade
12:00-5:00 p.m. Surovell 4th of July Parade down the MV Trail with my 3 y/o Colin

Sunday, July 4, 2010
12:00 a.m. Waynewood Fourth of July Parade
1:30 p.m. Hollin Hills Fourth of July Picnic
6:00 p.m. Tauxemont Community Fourth of July Picnic

Scott Speaks to the Southwood Community
(photo courtesy David Almacy)

Waynewood Fourth of July Parade

Photo Courtesy Mt. Vernon Gazette & Gale Curcio

Hollin Hills Fourth of July Picnic