Local Commentary

Delegate Scott’s Richmond Report

Gov. Kaine: Telework Champion

Governor Kaine and his Cabinet continued his outreach efforts in Northern Virginia on Monday, with stops in Arlington and Loudoun Counties, Reston, the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), and Medical Education Campus of the Northern Virginia Community College.

The visit, one of many throughout the state, was designed to let all members of his Cabinet learn about local problems and issues first hand and to highlighted some of his Administration’s initiatives. I was particularly pleased that the CIT visit focused on the Governor’s commitment to telework and other innovative methods of reducing congestion. He spoke of his Executive Order creating an Office of Telework and Broadband Assistance.

Partially as a result of that action, the Governor received an award from the Telework Coalition for his leadership, and he announced a goal of having 20% of the state workforce teleworking by 2010. He and other speakers emphasized the importance of telework in continuing government operations in the case of a disaster or a pandemic.

Citing the state Department of Taxation as an example, the Governor also described the cost savings that can occur in both capital and operating costs.

Transportation again

As the Governor pointed out, telework should be an important part of the Commonwealth’s transportation strategy. Without more revenues for transit, road improvements and maintenance, however, congestion will continue to increase. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recently completed its annual update of regional employment and populations trends. Those trends suggest continued growth to 2030, with Loudoun and Stafford Cos. leading the way in population and employment growth. Falls Church’s employment growth rate is high also while its population growth rate is low. In 2030, the region, including Prince William and Stafford Counties, will have a population of 6.6 million people.

In short, all projections suggest a worsening transportation crisis unless more infrastructure is in place. Given the increasing portion of the transportation budget taken by maintenance, substantial new transportation revenues are essential to our economic prosperity.

Earlier this year, the Virginia Senate, with limited opposition, advanced several measures to provide significant revenue enhancements, only to see them killed in the House Finance Committee on a party-line vote, just as it killed more modest House proposals.

New initiatives are being discussed, but they are likely to meet the same fate as the proposals offered this year: As the Governor suggested, next fall’s elections will provide an opportunity to remedy that situation.

The new Mt. Vernon

Our family has recently visited the Mt. Vernon. We strongly encourage everyone who has not seen the recent improvements and expansion to do so. Beginning with virtual tours on the Mt. Vernon website, you will find many new features worth exploring, including new exhibits about the life and times of George Washington. For school children and adults alike, the experience will make you want to return.