|2014 44th District Water Quality Map|
The 44th District is no exception. I've written about previous reports for the 44th District here:
Here are the top lines:
|2014 44th District Water Quality Map|
Virginia Education Official’s Visit Focuses on Improving Student Testing
Two weeks ago, Virginia Education Secretary Anne Holton toured Walt Whitman Middle School and Hybla Valley Elementary School at my invitation as part of the state’s effort to change the way we assess school progress.Virginia school accreditation is largely based on student performance on the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, tests created in 1995 by then-Governor George Allen.
Thirty schools in Fairfax County were accredited with warning and seven of those schools, including Mount Vernon High School and West Potomac High School, are in the 44th Delegate District along the U.S. 1 Corridor.
Time to Check Your Auto Insurance Coverage
This weekend, I received a text message from GEICO regarding my policy renewal so I thought I would take a minute to check out my coverages. Surprisingly, they were not what I thought they were.
The number one problem I see when people come to see me when they are injured is a lack of coverage. Frequently, the worst drivers on the road are either uninsured or have bare bones minimum policies.I have settled countless cases for extremely low values simply because there is not enough coverage and the person who injured my client had no assets. Most people do not realize that you can protect yourself and your family against these kinds of situations.
U.S. 1 Multimodal Study is Done – Now It’s Time for Action
Last week, a long-standing debate in our community was finally resolved – what should the U.S. 1 Corridor look like? It was a long time coming.When I was a sophomore at James Madison University, one of the first steps that newly-elected Senator Toddy Puller took was to try to generate some consensus around the long-term vision for U.S. 1.In 1998, Senator Puller won passage of legislation requiring the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to create a master design for U.S. 1 from Alexandria to Fredericksburg. Prince William and Stafford Counties found their consensus, but the Fairfax County process stalled.
Annual School Accreditation Reports a Mixed BagThe Virginia Department of Education has issued accreditation reports on our public schools. For our area, the results are mixed.First, it is important to understand that the state instituted new math tests this year. Statewide, 32% of schools were not fully accredited, largely because of new math tests. In Fairfax County, 171 of 191 schools (11%) were not fully accredited - 7 of the 20 Fairfax County schools with accreditation challenges were in the U.S. 1 Corridor.Hybla Valley ES returned to full accreditation this year notwithstanding having the highest free and reduced lunch (90.3%) and limited- English proficient populations (66.96%) in Fairfax County. Hybla Valley shows that committed teachers, principals, students and families can meet accreditation’s steepest challenges. They deserve a round of applause.
U.S. 1 Transit Study: It’s Time to Speak UpLast week, Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transit held the last public hearing on the U.S. 1 Multimodal Transit Study. This study will determine the most appropriate road configuration, mode of transit and accompanying land uses for the U.S. 1 corridor for the next 30 years. As the study ends, public input is absolutely critical.In 2012, Senator Toddy Puller and I won approval of $2 million to fund the study. After sixteen months taking input and considering various alternatives, the consultant team is recommending the “Hybrid Option” – (1) a six-lane U.S. 1, (2) a bike-pedestrian path the entire length, (3) a median-dedicated bus rapid transit system from Huntington Metro station to Woodbridge, and (4) a two-stop Yellow Line Metro extension with stops at Beacon Hill and Hybla Valley. The total cost in 2014 dollars would be about $2.4 billion.
Overall Fairfax County
West Potomac HS
Mt. Vernon HS
Carl Sandburg MS
Fort Belvoir ES
Fort Hunt ES
Hollin Meadows ES
Hybla Valley ES
Mt. Vernon Woods ES
Washington Mill ES
Woodley Hills ES
The Top Three Issues: The Future of U.S. 1, Improving Local Schools, and Helping The UninsuredThere are many issues facing the communities between the Potomac River, Huntley Meadows Park, Fort Belvoir and the City of Alexandria. The top three are U.S. 1, the future of our local schools, and a burgeoning uninsured population.First, our quality of life revolves U.S. 1. The future of U.S 1 not only functions as the spine of our mobility, but it drives housing, retail choices, property values, schools, environmental quality, crime levels, and tax revenue.A year ago, Senator Puller and I secured $2 million to fund the U.S. 1 Multimodal Study and determine the optimal transit, road, pedestrian, cycling, and accompanying land configuration for the U.S. 1 Corridor. That study will come to a conclusion in the next few months.
Children’s Issues Dominate First Hispanic Town HallOn Saturday, August 16, 2014, I held my third town hall meeting of the year and my first ever Hispanic Community Town Hall. I was also joined by the first Democratic elected Latino State Delegate - Alfonso Lopez - who represents South Arlington and Bailey's Crossroads.The Hispanic population has grown from less than one percent in Virginia in the 1970s to 8.6% today. Here in our area, there was virtually no Hispanic population when I was a kid. Today, the Hispanic population is the largest minority demographic in the 44th District. One in four people who lives in the 44th District is Hispanic.
|Johnnie Williams' Smith Mountain Lake Vacation Home|
Fairfax County Public Schools will use its grant to renovate, repair and construct new classrooms at Fort Belvoir Elementary School to address the capacity and facility condition deficiencies that placed the school on the Deputy Secretary of Defense Priority List at #26. The school will serve over 1,590 military connected students in grades kindergarten through sixth.Given that FCPS is currently facing a capital backlog of over $1 billion, this will allow the FCPS to focus on other renovation priorities.
A State Budget, A Federal Grand Jury, and Court ChallengesThe last two weeks in Richmond have been unusually busy.First, ethics are back at the forefront. in the wake of the resignation of State Senator Phil Puckett and change in control of the State Senate, the new state budget was written under one-party control. A $1.6 billion shortfall due to lagging income tax collections forced cuts which I detailed two weeks ago: K-12, higher education, affordable housing, healthcare, and funding for continued planning for improvements on U.S. 1 was removed from the budget.Last week, press reports suggest a Federal grand jury was summoned to investigate the resignation of Senator Puckett and allegations that a judgeship for this thirty-three year-old daughter and a six-figure job at the Virginia Tobacco Commission were offered in exchange for his resignation. The lack of any state investigation spotlights the weakness of the ethics reforms we just passed.
No Medicaid, U.S. 1 Cut, and a Frustrating Week
Last week was one of the most frustrating weeks in the General Assembly since my 2009 election.First, on Sunday afternoon, we learned that Democratic State Senator Phil Puckett from Southwest Virginia had announced his resignation to be considered for a job on the Virginia Tobacco Commission and clear the way for a judgeship for his 33- year-old daughter. This effectively gave the Virginia State Senate a Republican majority (20-19).On Monday, 21 senators signed a letter requiring the Senate reconvene and the Speaker called the House of Delegates back for a session on Thursday.When we arrived in Richmond on Thursday, we got more disappointing news. Apparently, the state’s revenue projections for purposes of building the FY14-15 budget were off because of incorrect assumptions. The primary problem was that revenue collections were up last year because wealthy taxpayers recognized significant increased income from stock liquidations done in anticipation of increased capital gains tax rates. The budget experts did not consider this in preparing this year’s revenue projections.
Five Myths About Medicaid Expansion
As the deadline to pass a budget approaches, Virginians will likely hear that state government could shut down because of a stalemate over expanding Virginia’s Medicaid program as encouraged by the Affordable Care Act. I would like to clear up a few misconceptions.
Myth #1 – Virginia’s Medicaid Stalemate Is a Partisan DisputeThere have been media reports that the Medicaid expansion fight is a Democrat-versus-Republican battle. It is not.
|Me, Rob Hartwell, Del. Jackson Miller, Jackson, Jr., the Harley |
Brothers & Family, Delegate David Ramadan, and Jim Cummins
|Panorama shot of the "Mother" Ship |
where we processed the fish.
Yellow Line Petition, Hybrid Tax Refunds & I-495 Changes
Last week, I wrote about the status of some transportation projects in our community. Here are a few more important things.
Sign the Yellow Line/Hybrid Option Extension PetitionThe state’s consultants are busy crunching numbers, population projections and funding options and evaluating community input to prepare recommendations on the mode of transit we should have on U.S. 1 for the next 20 years. I strongly believe that the “Hybrid Option” or the two-stop Yellow Line Extension with stations at Beacon Hill and Hybla Valley with dedicated bus rapid transit to Woodbridge is the best option. Having Metro on U.S. 1 will help revitalize the corridor, generate economic development, and enhance the environment, our schools, and our quality of life in the Mount Vernon and Lee areas.
I have set up a petition for people to sign, show support and comment on why the Hybrid Option is the best option. Over 400 people have already signed, in addition to the 400 who indicated support for a Yellow Line Extension on my 2014 constituent survey. Please go online and sign my petition at www.bit.ly/route1petition.
Get your family and neighbors to sign - It will take you less than a minute. We need to show strong community support!
Spring Transportation Update
Spring has arrived which means a beginning to the construction season. Here’s an update regarding transportation improvements in our area.
U.S. 1 Widening
Last week, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) started construction to six-lane U.S. 1 from Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway to Telegraph Road and reserve transit right-of-way in the center. The project will take two years and is funded by the federal government thanks to U.S. Congressman Jim Moran.
Jeff Todd Way/Mulligan Road Opening
In September 2014, Jeff Todd Way will open between U.S. 1 (Roy Rogers) and Telegraph Road finally restoring cross-county connectivity between Woodlawn and Hayfield after access through Fort Belvoir was shut down thirteen years ago. Listen for the loud sigh of relief in 22309 after opening.
|2014 Repaving Projects in the 44th District|
|2014 Paving Project List|
|Sherwood Hall Ln||1.73|
|Fort Hunt Rd||1.488|
|Fort Hunt Rd||2.27|
|Paul Spring Rd||0.446|
|Radcliffe Dr/Rollins Dr||0.37|
|Rollins Dr/Westgrove Blvd||0.76|
|Mary Baldwin Dr||0.35|
|University Dr/Canterbury Ln||0.25|
|Davis St/Oberlin Dr||0.26|
|E Lee Ave||0.195|
|E Side Dr||0.273|
|Stone Hedge Dr||0.15|
|Memorial Heights Dr||0.222|
|Ridgecrest Dr/Park Terrace Dr||1.73|
|Mason Hill Dr||0.84|
|Maid Marian Ct||0.07|