Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Virginia governor says savings on construction will be passed on to savings by drivers.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority's five proposals for construction of Phase 2 of the Silver Line came in far below expectations - which he predicts will mean major savings for Virginia taxpayers and users of the Dulles Toll Road. MWAA received proposals last week from Bechtel Transit Partners, Capital Rail Constructors, Dulles APC Railbuilders, Dulles Metrorail Connectors, and Silver Line Constructors. The estimates range from $1.17 billion to $1.37 billion, MWAA said. MWAA is expected to conduct a detailed review of the proposals and award a contract later this spring. The $2.7 billion Phase 2 is being built without federal funding (Phase 1 received $900 million in federal dollars). It will …
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Does the commonwealth need another name on the ballot?
Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling took himself out of Virginia's race for governor last week, leaving, at least for now, what's shaping up to be a two-person race. The choice for the Old Dominion's next governor, seven months before Election Day, seems to have boiled down to presumptive Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli, the state's socially conservative attorney general, against likely Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a McLean businessman. The Republican Party of Virginia will hold its convention on May 17 and 18 in Richmond to formally select its nominee. Democrats go to the polls on June 11 to cast their ballots in several races, including governor and lieutenant governor. …
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Vienna-area Sen. Janet Howell calls compromise — expected to raise $880 million a year for roads and mass transit —"truly the best we're going to get."
Sunday, February 24
By Stephen Nielsen, Capital News Service A divided Virginia Senate on Saturday passed Gov. Bob McDonnell’s signature issue of the 2013 legislative session – a bill to overhaul the state’s system for funding transportation. Just hours before the session’s end, the Senate voted 25-15 for House Bill 2313, which will raise about $880 million a year more for roads and mass transit by increasing sales taxes while lowering the fuels tax. The debate over how to increase revenue continued right up to the vote. Vienna-area Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) supported the legislation; Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) voted against it. “This isn’t any bill. This is the only bill,” said Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment, R-Williamsburg. He said it’s the …
Friday, February 22, 2013
Bill aiming to build consensus around Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to bring $3 billion to transportation projects met with mixed reviews.
Friday, February 22
By Whitney Spicer, Capital News Service Critics of the transportation funding compromise reached by legislative negotiators say the plan would place a huge burden on Virginia taxpayers. The Virginia House of Delegates on Friday passed House Bill 2313, which would raise about $900 million a year for transportation and transit projects. The 98-page compromise must win approval the Senate before it can be signed into law by the governor. The legislative session ends Saturday. The new plan, which was hammered out by a 10-member conference committee over the past week, would potentially raise close to $900 million a year in transportation revenue. It could be the first transportation funding overhaul in Virginia since 1986 if it passes this …
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Governor sends letter to president, congressional delegation.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell sent a letter Monday to President Barack Obama and the Old Dominion's congressional delegation calling for immediate action to prevent automatic spending cuts under sequestration. The $1.2 trillion in cuts — meant to force Congress to compromise, which hasn't happened — are slated to go into effect March 1. That deadline has been pushed back several times as lawmakers have brokered Band-Aid solutions. "The automatic sequestration reductions mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 are already having a significant adverse effect on the Commonwealth," McDonnell stated. "When fully implemented, they could force Virginia and other states into a recession. Sequestration-mandated reductions will be implemented with …
Friday, February 15, 2013
Access to guns, mental health covered in Virginia rep's report by the National Science Foundation — topics he says need to stay part of the conversation.
Days after President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to call on Congress and the country to act on gun control, U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) has released a report that examines driving forces behind mass shootings, including violent media and mental health issues — topics absent from the president's address, Wolf said. The 41-page report, “Youth Violence: What We Need to Know,” includes several studies compiled by an advisory committee to the National Science Foundation (NSF). It will come before a U.S. House subcommittee later this spring. Among the study's findings: exposure to violent media is a significant risk factor in shootings, but also "one of the easiest risk factors to change,” the report says. Its suggestions…
Thursday, February 14, 2013
With 10 days left in the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session, Vienna-area Sen. Janet Howell joins group that will hammer out a transportation deal.
By Whitney Spicer, Capital News Service A conference committee of 10 legislators has less than a week and a half to hammer out a compromise between the House and Senate versions of a bill to increase transportation funding in Virginia. The committee was named Wednesday after the Senate passed a version of House Bill 2313 that differs greatly from a proposal approved by delegates last week. The group will have eight Republicans and two Democrats — including Vienna-area Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston). Nearby, Fairfax's Republican Del. Dave Albo was also appointed to the group. McDonnell said that if the committee can agree upon “a fiscally responsible plan,” he will sign it into law. The panel must agree on a plan before the General Assembly’…
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The Virginia House and Senate will have to come together on a comprehensive package quickly.
A Senate Finance Committee passed a transportation plan for Virginia on Tuesday that modifies Gov. McDonnell's proposed plan, which hinges on eliminating the state's gas tax in favor of a larger sales tax. The Senate Finance Committee plan differs from Gov. McDonnell's proposal in key ways—it raises the gas tax instead of eliminating it, for example. (See the summary of the HB 2313 substitute in the media box at right for additional details.) The plan (which was not itself a bill but does move the discussions forward) passed on a 9 - 6 vote with bipartisan support. Sen. Janet Howell, who represents parts of Vienna, Tysons Corner and McLean, along with Reston and surrounding areas, is on the Senate Finance Committee. In an email to Patch…
The governor visited Fairfax County on Monday to rally support for his transportation bill, promising some money to reduce fees on the Dulles Toll Road.
Gov. Bob McDonnell made a stop in Northern Virginia on Monday afternoon to urge locals to push their representatives to support his divisive transportation-funding package, which the state Senate is scheduled to vote on again Tuesday. The governor said his proposal, which failed to pass the Senate in a partisan, 20-20 vote last week, would raise about $3 billion for road and transit improvements over the next five years. The bill would eliminate the state’s 17.5-cents-per-gallon gas tax and raise the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent. The House last week amended their version of the bill, eliminating a $100 alternative vehicle fee for owners of hybrid cars and prohibiting tolls on I-95 south of Fredericksburg. Senate …
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Vienna's Del. Mark Keam votes against measure that would give all schools letter grades.
Tuesday, February 5
By Samantha Morgan, Capital News Service Gov. Bob McDonnell praised the Virginia House of Delegates after legislators bassed a bill Monday he said would provide a simpler way to understand a school’s performance and the state’s accreditation system. Delegates voted 54-40 to approve House Bill 1999, which would require the Virginia Board of Education to grade each school on an A-F scale. The bill, sponsored by Del. Thomas “Tag” Greason (R-Landsdowne), is part of McDonnell’s K-12 legislative agenda. Under the bill, the board would develop a grading system for all schools by Aug. 1. The letter grade would be given in addition to the state’s more detailed standards of accreditation for individual school performance. Keep up to date on all …