Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Yellow Line Service Follow Up: Alternative Service Options

Several Alternative Travel Options Available While Yellow Line Service is Suspended

Need help navigating your options? Check out: https://novatransit.org/programs/novarides/


YELLOW LINE PASSENGERS: As you may recall, back in March the WMATA announced they are suspending Yellow Line service across the Potomac between Pentagon and L’Enfant stations for eight months, starting Sept. 10th, 2022. You can see my blog post about it here: Yellow Line Service Disruptions. As promised, I wanted to provide you with information for alternative service options while the Yellow Line is suspended.


WMATA is providing several travel alternatives over the next eight months. This includes free shuttle bus service, alternative rail routes, free passage on the Virginia Railway Express (VRE), and Northern Virginia supplemental services from DASH, OmniRide, and Fairfax Connector. Riders can plan ahead by visiting the project’s Service Impacts and Travel Alternatives information webpage now.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Weekly Column: Working for a Safer, More Efficient Transportation System

The following is my column that will appear in this week's Mt. Vernon Gazette in the week of August 1, 2022.   

Working for a Safer, More Efficient Transportation System

This is an update on several important transportation projects underway in our area, including the U.S. 1 Speed Study, undergrounding utilities on U.S. 1, the I-495 Southside Express Lanes Study, and the Youngkin Administration’s reallocation of transit funds.

Since 2017, we have seen the following on U.S. 1 in Fairfax County:

  • 1,785 crashes
  • 1,185 injuries
  • 15 deaths

The per-lane-miles-travelled accident rate between Fort Belvoir and Hybla Valley is 70% higher than the Virginia and Fairfax County averages.  From Hybla Valley to Alexandria it is 40% higher. These are troubling numbers.  The $800 million widening of U.S. 1 and construction of bus rapid transit will bring significant safety improvements and is being engineered with lane widths assuming a 35 MPH speed limit.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Sign the petition to Underground Utilities on U.S. 1

On July 26, Mt. Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck is bringing a board matter before his colleagues that would raise the funds to finally underground utilities on U.S. 1 and other revitalizations areas in Fairfax County.  His plan creates a revolving fund with revenue raised by a utility fee capped capped at $1/month and reimbursed by development proffers.  Fairfax County is the only jurisdiction in Virginia authorized to impose this fee.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Weekly Column: U.S. Supreme Court Puts Virginian's Safety at Risk

The following is my column that will appear in this week's Mt. Vernon Gazette in the week of July 4, 2022.   

U.S. Supreme Court Puts Virginian's Safety at Risk

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 23 issued a disturbing decision on guns, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen case, which clarified the scope of firearms rules declared by the Supreme Court in a previous case, D.C. v. Heller, decided in 2008. This is yet another disappointing decision from that court, like the one I wrote about last week,  the Dobbs case, which would severely limit women’s reproductive rights.

                Before 2008, American courts interpreted the Second Amendment as authorizing states the freedom to regulate their militias – today’s National Guard.  In Heller, the Court invalidated the District of Columbia’s handgun ban and requirement that rifles in the home be stored with trigger locks and unassembled.  This was the first time the Court found such a right existed. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Weekly Column: The U.S. Supreme Court Decision Threatens Women’s Fundamental Rights

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 26, 2022.

The U.S. Supreme Court Decision Threatens Women’s Fundamental Rights

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court issued three very important decisions: Carson v. MaikinNew York Rifle & Pistol Assn v. Bruen and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org. (Dobbs).  The Carson case relates to taxpayer funding of religious schools.  NY Rifle affects firearm violence prevention.  Dobbs eviscerates a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions.  This column addresses the Dobbs decision.  I will discuss NY Rifle next week, Carson and the Governor’s budget amendments in future columns. 

             The Dobbs case overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade decision which has been the law of the land since January 22, 1973.  That decision held that the right to privacy embodied in various amendments in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights gave women a constitutional right to make their own healthcare decisions.  Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the Roe case was wrongly decided and should no longer stand. 

Monday, June 6, 2022

Weekly Column: Historic Investment In K-12 Education

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 7, 2022.

                Last week, I wrote about some of the local effects of the bipartisan budget agreement that we sent to the Governor last week.  This week I will write about some of the broader issues addressed in the budget.

               First, I was not pleased with the tax cuts which I believe are short-sighted.  The budget contains several other priorities I do not support such as a new $100 million “college laboratory school” program and new funds for school resource officers, but bipartisanship requires compromise.   

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Weekly Column: You Can't Always Get What You Want

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 May 31, 2022.

               On Wednesday of this week, I cleared my trial calendar and headed to Richmond to vote for the bipartisan conference report on our $188 billion state budget.  The compromise was a mixed bag.  This week, I will write about some local priorities in the budget.  Next week, I will write about the coming tax cuts and some of the broader investments that benefit the entire Commonwealth. 

               First, the Commonwealth’s current fiscal picture appears healthy but I have serious concerns that our excess revenues are largely driven by $5 Trillion of federal stimulus monies that have been pumped into our economy instead of solid underlying economic fundamentals.  It is very dangerous to reset tax rates assuming revenues that could vanish when the stream of borrowed money fizzles out. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

2022 Little Hunting Creek Cleanup!

 

Mark your calendars to join me, Delegate Paul Krizek and Friends of Little Hunting Creek for our annual creek cleanup!

Details are as follows:

2022 LITTLE HUNTING CREEK CLEAN UP
APRIL 30TH
9 AM - 11 AM
RSVP: bit.ly/CreekCleanup2022

Monday, March 14, 2022

Weekly Column: Session Ends - Budget Is Pending

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 14, 2022.

Session Ends - Budget Is Pending

Last week, state legislators completed the 2022 General Assembly session and 18 of the 27 bills I introduced are now on their way to the Governor.  Unfortunately, we were not able to reach an agreement on a state budget, on two state Supreme Court justices or on a commissioner for the State Corporation Commission and will have a special session.

               Last week, I served on 16 conference committees charged with working out compromises on some of our most difficult bills to reconcile.

Unfortunately, the House of Delegates unexpectedly killed one of my bills to generate more bike and pedestrian solutions.  We have a massive backlog of unfunded pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure projects in Northern Virginia - especially in eastern Northern Virginia which were built before County land use rules required sidewalks or bike lanes on roads.  There is also no meaningful funding stream under which these projects are competitive so planners do not even develop or seek significant projects.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Yellow Line Service Disruption Across Potomac

 WMATA Announces Yellow Line Construction: Service Across the Potomac to Pause for Renovations


YELLOW LINE PASSENGERS: The WMATA has announced they will be suspending Yellow Line service across the Potomac between Pentagon and L’Enfant stations for seven to eight months, starting Sept. 10th, 2022

Monday, March 7, 2022

Weekly Column: Last Week On Tap: House Kills Five Bills

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 7, 2022.

Last Week On Tap: House Kills Five Bills

               Last week, Week 7 of the 2023 Regular General Assembly Session, brought major action on many bills.  This coming week, no committees can meet after Monday and the session is scheduled to end on Saturday, March 12.

               The House of Delegates killed seven of my 25 remaining bills.  First, SB246 required law enforcement officers to advise a driver why they were stopped before asking for their driver’s license and vehicle registration. I introduced this bill after a constituent from Kingstowne ended up in the local news after she was stopped and charged with driving while intoxicated and after she asked why she was stopped.  She blew a 0.00% breath alcohol concentration and her case dismissed, but the entire situation was avoidable.  This policy is consistent with Virginia law enforcement accreditation standards, Virginia State Police and Fairfax County Police policies, but the Virginia Sheriffs Association opposed it and a House committee voted the bill down on a party-line vote. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Weekly Column: Senate and House Set Up Fight Over $3 Billion Tax Cut

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 February 28, 2022.

Senate and House Set Up Fight Over $3 Billion Tax Cut  

               In the sixth week of the General Assembly Session each chamber offered their proposed budgets.  Each chamber’s budget is very different.

               First, I was able to secure several changes to the budget that are important to our community.  The Senate Finance Committee included $10 million in the budget to fund the Phase II improvements at Widewater State Park.  Phase II will include a new visitor center, new trails, a loop road, parking areas, and picnic areas.  I have been fighting for this for five years and I am working with Delegate Candi King and Delegate Tara Durant to ensure the House of Delegates will agree to fund it.