Christopher Newport University Releases Results of New Medicaid Poll

Christopher Newport University recently conducted a poll asking questions about the expansion of Obamacare and the state of Virginia.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Virginia voters have soured on Medicaid expansion, with 53% saying they do not support the current proposal.
  • An overwhelming majority of voters (71%) want a compromise to avoid a government shutdown. House Republicans have offered the clearest path to compromise – pass a clean budget to avoid a government shutdown and debate Medicaid expansion later.

You can view the entire analysis by following this link – http://cnu.edu/cpp/pdf/april_2014_medicaid_budget.pdf.

In addition, here are two articles you may find interesting to read:

Daily Press: http://www.dailypress.com/news/politics/dp-nws-cnu-poll-20140424,0,5035928.story

Times Dispatch: http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/state-regional/virginia-politics/poll-majority-of-virginians-oppose-medicaid-expansion/article_9638f188-cba6-11e3-bbfa-0017a43b2370.html

Report Potholes to VDOT

With winter finally behind us, the warmer spring temperatures have started the beginning of “pothole season.” Because we had a very wet winter of heavy snow and rain, along with several freeze-thaw cycles, potholes have formed on our roads and continue to cause problems for our drivers.

Potholes occur when the pavement is weakened by moisture seeping into the pavement, freezing, expanding and then thawing. Traffic driving over the roads loosens the pavement further, and it eventually crumbles and pops out, causing a pothole.

I’ve been doing my best to alert VDOT of road problems, but I’m not aware of all issues and I need your help. If you see a pothole, you may report the problem directly to VDOT online here or by calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623). VDOT will investigate each report and will schedule repairs as soon as possible.

In addition, this harsh winter has not only impacted our roads, but the Virginia Department of Transportation’s snow budget was exceeded by almost $100 million. Their snow budget is part of VDOT’s overall $1.8 billion maintenance budget. Thus, snow removal has eaten up some funds designated for pothole repairs, repaving, and other activities. Consequently, many of our repaving projects have been placed on hold because money had to be used for snow removal.

Virginia is a “pay as you go” state, so the bucket needs to be refilled. While we sometimes borrow money for new construction projects, we would never borrow money for maintenance. Consequently, once the “bucket” is refilled, repaving projects will begin again. And because the General Assembly passed the transportation package last year, there will be funds for projects soon.

One of the major complaints I’ve heard is the status of Old Keene Mill Road. This is one of many roads in poor condition in our area. The good news is that VDOT has completed all necessary evaluations and investigations on this road and has included it as a priority on the future paving schedule. So once money is accumulated, this project should begin.

If you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

VDOT Announces Snow Removal Costs

I wanted to share the following press release from VDOT about the weather and the impacts on their budget. It references the additional snow removal costs that will be paid out of VDOT’s overall maintenance budget.  VDOT is looking to where adjustments can be made to their maintenance budget to compensate for those costs.

As always, VDOT is continuing to evaluate and investigate suggestions for repaving/filling potholes. We may submit our inquiries online at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/citizen.asp,  or by emailing novainfo@vdot.virginia.gov and calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623).

In addition, all of the advertised paving schedules (statewide) may be found online:  http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/ad_schedule.asp. To see specific projects for our area, click on “Pavement Contracts” under the Northern Virginia tab.

For quick reference – the following busy streets in our area are currently on the repaving schedule. These roads will be repaved when the funds become available:

  • Old Keene Mill Road (From Elder Avenue to Lee Chapel Road – 6.217 miles)
  • Burke Centre Parkway (From Burke Lake Road to Roberts Parkway – 1.38 miles)
  • Braddock Road (From Shirley Gate Road to West of Ox Road – 1.92 miles)
  • Sherwood Hall Lane (From Route 1 to Fort Hunt Road – 1.73 miles)
  • Chain Bridge Road (From Clifton Road to Davis Drive – 5.136 miles)

The snow removal press release is pasted below, but it can also be found online here. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me. Dave

WINTER WEATHER IMPACTS VDOT’S SNOW BUDGET

Adjustments will be made; agency has sufficient resources to repair potholes, pave roads and maintain safety on roads across Virginia

RICHMOND – The harsh winter has impacted the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) snow budget. VDOT will likely exceed its $157 million snow budget by more than $100 million, but VDOT has adequate resources in place from its larger maintenance budget for snow removal, pothole repairs, repaving and other activities to keep roads as safe as possible.

“Make no mistake, this winter has put a strain on our maintenance budget,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “However, we have sufficient resources to ensure our roads are well-kept and we will continue to be good stewards of public funds. This winter has been rough, but we’re committed to delivering a safe and reliable transportation system. Motorists and the public can expect to see crews on the roads day in and day out working to improve transportation in Virginia.”

The additional snow removal costs will be paid out of VDOT’s overall maintenance budget.  VDOT is looking ahead at where adjustments can be made to the maintenance budget to compensate for those costs.  With safety always first, VDOT is considering the following adjustments:

  • Extend completion dates of select paving projects
  • Limit use of service contracts (excluding snow removal and pothole patching) and perform needed services with VDOT staff
  • Limit overtime (excluding snow operations/safety related activities)
  • Delay new equipment purchases

“The safety of motorists and our employees is always the first priority,” said VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick. “Funds will be spent as necessary for snow removal, incident management and other maintenance needs including pothole patching.”

The snow budget is part of VDOT’s overall $1.8 billion maintenance budget for such expenses as pothole repairs, repaving and other activities. VDOT’s $1.4 billion construction budget will not be impacted by snow removal, pothole repair or other maintenance costs.

City of Fairfax Construction: Chain Bridge Road/Route 123

As I was traveling to the Fairfax County Courthouse today, I noticed some signs about the upcoming construction on Route 123. After a little research, I found that the City of Fairfax will be working to replace the bridge on Chain Bridge Road (Route 123) over Accotink Creek (at Rust Curve). I wanted to share the information with you all so that you can avoid the detour and the traffic.

Construction will begin or around Tuesday, April 1, weather permitting, and will continue through August 2014. This project will remove the existing 87-year-old obsolete bridge and replace it with a new bridge that will have a safer design. The bridge replacement is necessary to improve public safety for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

During construction, which is expected to last six months, there will be a one-lane temporary bridge in place to accommodate those traveling southbound on Route 123. These drivers will not be detoured during the bridge construction unless temporarily for safety reasons. Although, those traveling northbound on Route 123, will be detoured through Whitehead Street, University Drive and Kenmore Drive. In other words, the northbound lanes will be closed on Route 123 from Whitehead Street to Kenmore Drive.

Sidewalks through the work zone also will be closed while bridge construction is taking place.  Pedestrians can detour around the work zone using sidewalks on the detour route.

It is highly recommended that through traffic avoid Route 123 through the City of Fairfax and utilize other corridors such as Lee Highway. Traffic coming to campus off I-66 should avoid exiting at Route 123 (exit 60) and use exit 62 (Nutley Street), exit 57 (Route 50) or exit 55 (Fairfax County Parkway).

Additional construction signs will be placed around the Fairfax Campus to alleviate traffic on Route 123.  The messages will indicate:

  • At Braddock Road & Route 123, detour traffic away from Route 123 north to take Braddock Road west onto Shirley Gate Road north
  • At University Drive & George Mason Boulevard, detour traffic away from Route 123 north and take University Drive north to Route 236 and onto Route 29/Route 50

All of this information and more, can be found by on the City of Fairfax’s website.

A map of the detour can be found here.

Education Update

We are fortunate to have great teachers in classrooms all across Virginia, especially in Fairfax County. Teachers are a key part of ensuring that our children receive a quality education. Over the last several years, we have worked hard to recognize and reward Virginia’s teachers by increasing teacher pay, enacting innovative reforms that give teachers more flexibility and promoting teacher professionalism.

Last year, the General Assembly funded a two percent teacher pay raise for all teachers. Additionally, we created a strategic compensation program based off a model developed by teachers in Southwest Virginia. Strategic compensation allows local leaders to reward teachers with additional pay for meeting certain locally-established strategic criteria. These pay and incentive increases have helped raise teacher salaries across Virginia. We’ve also worked to create the Governor’s teacher cabinet and to increase resources for training teachers.

Building on the work accomplished in 2013, we have sought to continue to make targeted investments in our teachers and classrooms with this year’s budget. The House budget proposal includes over $500 million in additional funding for K-12 education. This funding will help give our teachers and schools the resources they need. For teachers specifically, this funding will be used for health insurance premiums and to fully fund the Virginia Retirement System.

Beyond that, in negotiations with the Senate, the House budget conferees have offered a one percent salary increase for teachers starting in 2016, while continuing our commitment to the strategic compensation program. Please note, the Senate budget does not specifically dedicate any money to teacher pay raises.

I recognize how important teachers are to our young people. These investments are meant to recognize and reward our teachers for all they do. I will continue to work to do everything I can to attract and retain great teachers in the Commonwealth.

Dave

Fact of the Day

Over the past three decades, which grew by a greater percentage: the income earned by U.S. middle-class households, or the government benefits received by these households?

  1. Income Earned
  2. Government Benefits

From 1979-2009, middle-class households increased their earned income by 7%, while the government benefits they received increased by 235%.

See for yourself at http://www.justfactsdaily.com/question?question=100041

Comstock for Congress event on Monday, March 31st

For anyone interested in joining me for a reception for Delegate Barbara Comstock, candidate for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, the information for the March 31st event is attached.

Monday, March 31st, 2014
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Paradise Springs Winery
13219 Yates Ford Road, Clifton, VA 20124

I’m extremely proud to support my friend and colleague, Barbara Comstock. I have known her for years and I truly believe she would be a great congresswoman. She is a skilled legislator, attorney and small businesswoman who will fight tirelessly for the people of the 10th Congressional district. If you can make it, please register for the event and meet me at Paradise Springs to show Barbara that we’re on her team! In addition, we can drink some delicious Virginia wines!

To Register – Please fill out the following registration form: Comstock Event March 31, 2014

For more information on Barbara Comstock, please visit her website: www.BarbaraComstockforCongress.com

VDOT Updates – Silverbrook Road and Southrun Road

Attached are two documents. One is a letter from VDOT regarding the possibility of widening Silverbrook Road, and the other, a study on the intersection of Silverbrook Rd and Southrun Road. VDOT says they will continue to work with Fairfax County on the widening of Silverbook from SCHS and Hooes Road, and will complete a new study on the proposed intersection of Silverbook and Southrun.

This is great because VDOT is finally addressing some of our concerns.

Click here to view the two documents:

 

VDOT Public Hearing – April 24, 2014 at 6 p.m.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board will conduct a series of public hearings to give citizens the opportunity to review and provide comments on projects and programs that are to be included in the FY 2015-20120 Six-Year Improvement Program.

It is important that VDOT hears from our community members about the projects that we feel are of highest priority.

The Northern Virginia public hearing will be held on April 24, 2014 at 6 p.m. at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office (4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030).

All Virginia residents are encouraged to attend. If you cannot attend the hearing, you may send your comments to the Programming Director at Six-YearProgram@vdot.virginia.gov.

Master Sergeant Ernest Hancock Receives His Silver Star Award

Master Sergeant ernest hancock

Master Sergeant Ernest Hancock received his Silver Star today from the United States Air Force on the House floor of the Virginia General Assembly.

He was awarded the Silver Star in 1945, but as time passed, he never received it. Today we celebrated Master Sergeant Hancock receiving this award 69 years later.

While serving his country in February 1945 during WWII, Master Sergeant Hancock refused to leave his burning gun turret in a B-17. He shot down three German fighters before being ordered to bail out.  With severe burns covering his legs, he was captured and force marched many miles in the cold and snow into a prisoner-of-war camp.

Master Sergeant Ernest Hancock is now 90 years old and currently resides in Prince William County.

Today, we salute and thank Master Sergeant Ernest Hancock for his bravery and dedicated service to our country.

To view the entire resolution presented, please click here.