Frustration with the tone and content of this year’s General Assembly, tight budgets and lack of options to solve problems inspired the Connection to ask the question: What would the future hold for an independent State of Northern Virginia? Reporters fanned out around the region, seeking opinions that range from glee to caution to dread.
While there is no mechanism for secession, it is still illuminating to consider what options and priorities would emerge from a State of Northern Virginia.
Arbitrarily, the new state boundaries would include Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William counties, plus the City of Alexandria, and cities located within the boundaries of the counties names above. The state would include about 2 million people, about half in Fairfax.
The State of Northern Virginia would rank 36th in population, but near the top in income. The state would be affluent, strategically placed with remarkable resources.
<b>VOTERS HERE WOULD</b> be able to determine the type of government; for example, counties might not make sense in such a small state. States of similar size and smaller have full General Assembly representation, meaning that each representative would report to many fewer citizens. This should lead to more responsive government. Rhode Island, for example, has about half the number of residents as the new State of Northern Virginia, but still has a General Assembly with 38 senators and 75 delegates.
None of this is simple. Right now the Virginia Department of Transportation maintains almost all the roads. Northern Virginia would need its own State Police. Parents could no longer seek in-state tuition at the University of Virginia, William and Mary, Virginia Tech and other institutions of higher learning.
<b>WE INVITE READERS</b> to weigh in on this issue. Write, e-mail or fax ideas, reactions and priorities. What schools, roads other amenities should take top priority? How much of the money saved should be reinvested and how much should be returned to taxpayers?
Write to Editor, Connection Newspapers, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, Va. 22102. Fax to 703-917-0991. E-mail to <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. Coverage is spread out over The Connection’s 14 Northern Virginia newspapers.
<i>Staff contributing to this project include: Beverly Crawford, Chuck Hagee, David Harrison, Bonnie Hobbs, Sanford Horn, Jennifer Lesinski, David Mongillo, Mike Salmon, Jim Silver, Shelley Widhalm, and Mary Anne Weber.</i>