Local Commentary

A Penny For Your Thoughts: The News of Greater Falls Church

Most people, when given a problem to solve, try to figure out a solution, not just hand off the problem to someone else because it’s too hard. That’s not the case with some members of the Virginia General Assembly. On Monday, House Speaker William Howell’s office in Richmond released a package of bills that purport to solve Northern Virginia’s transportation crisis.

How do they intend to resolve our transportation woes? By handing off the problem to local governments! The package includes giving localities a series of local taxes they would have to impose to raise funds for transportation. Mind you, the responsibility would be on local elected officials to raise taxes. General Assembly members could wash their hands of the issue, and say “not me. Blame those other guys.”

One bill also would turn over maintenance of secondary roads to localities. The current allocation of state money for maintenance of lane miles would follow to each jurisdiction. If maintenance costs were not as high, the extra money could be used for other transportation projects. When was the last time maintenance costs were less than anticipated? The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) would negotiate deals with local governments for used VDOT maintenance equipment and offer “incentives” for localities to hire VDOT employees.

Bottom line seems to be that no new state money for transportation will be forthcoming in Speaker Howell’s proposal. Localities will be forced to impose new or increased taxes (and remit a portion to the state for the privilege), and bid for used orange VDOT vehicles and employees. What a deal!

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Mason District’s Fall Town Meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 4, beginning at 7 p.m. at Glasgow Middle School, 4101 Fairfax Parkway in the Alexandria portion of Mason District. The town meeting will focus on solid waste collection programs by both county and private providers. Changes in various programs – recycling, special pick-ups, storm debris handling and removal, household trash vs. business trash, etc. – will be presented for discussion by a panel of experts. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions after the presentations. Whether your home is served by county or private trash collection, the town meeting will provide new information that will be helpful to Mason District residents, and I hope you will plan to attend.

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Fairfax County enjoys an enviably low crime rate for a jurisdiction of its size. An outstanding police department and good community Neighborhood Watch programs contribute to the low crime rate, but residents need to take steps to ensure their own safety and security. Recent reports of home break-ins are troubling, and the police department reminds everyone to lock their doors and windows, trim or remove shrubbery that can mask an intruder near your house, and use lighting inside and out to make your home less inviting to a burglar. Crooks want easy entry and cover. Don’t give it to them.