In a March 4 meeting with U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8), the city government made 19 funding proposals for federal dollars. The congressman, who is just beginning his eighth term in the United States House of Representatives, is in the process of receiving formal requests from localities, nonprofit organizations, constituents and businesses. Because he is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, he has the potential to secure funding for hometown projects. His office will spend the next few weeks reviewing all of the proposals. Until then, city leaders can hope the March 4 meeting with the congressman made an impact on Moran, who is a former mayor of Alexandria.
“Nineteen budget requests,” said Moran at the beginning of the meeting. “That’s more than all of Northern Virginia combined.”
Alexandria’s future plans form a complex blend of local, state and federal needs. City Manager James Hartman put together a list of proposals for federal funding that cover everything from homeland security to historic preservation. The actual dollar amounts of the requests do not necessary reflect the amount of money the city plans to receive from the federal government.
According to Bernard Caton, the city’s legislative director, the city would be happy to receive partial help on any of these funding requests. Only one request, increasing security at the prison that holds terrorism suspects, is sought with the hope of a full federal funding.
• The city wants $10 million to correct infiltration and inflow problems caused by aging and deteriorating sewer systems. Moran has already secured $1.6 million in federal money to help pay for the construction of a bypass sewage line from the Four Mile Run Pumping Station to Potomac Yard Interceptor Line. But recent studies indicate future problems for the northeastern part of the city, where the bypass sewer line is being installed.
• The city wants $6.5 million to cover the cost of moving Alexandria’s Emergency Operations Center, which is currently located in an old school building. City leaders want to build a less vulnerable building with suitable perimeter security.
• The city wants $3.6 million to replace the public safety radio system used by the Fire Department, the Sheriff’s Office and Police officers. An upgraded system would allow Alexandria officials better communication with other jurisdictions, which could help coordinate first-responders in the even of an emergency situation.
• The city wants $2.2 million to help cover security improvements made to the Alexandria Public Safety Center, which has housed alleged terrorists such as John Walker Lindh, Zacarias Moussaoui and Ahmed Omar Abu Ali. Physical improvements have included fencing, crash walls, a secure visitor’s screening center, more intense outdoor lighting, new monitoring equipment and relocated parking.
• The city wants $2 million for fiber-optic cable to coordinate traffic signals along Duke Street. Last year, Moran secured $2 million for this ongoing project from the Department of Transportation.
• The city wants $1.6 million to modernize Alexandria’s E-911 system, which is now 10 years old. The system handles approximately 160,000 calls every year, and it is increasingly prone to failure.
• The city wants $1 million to study and prepare a concept plan to increase Metro’s effectiveness. Two topics the study will investigate are bus transit between the city’s four Metro stations and dedicated shuttle systems.
• The city wants $750,000 for the development of the Alexandria Child Advocacy Center, a program that will provide a place for children and families who are victims of child abuse and neglect. The money would cover the cost of equipping a building (possibly a home) with an interview room, a family visitation room, medical examination facilities, meeting rooms and offices.
• The city wants $750,000 to create a stream-crossing under the Shirley Highway to connect the west end to Cameron Station and the east end through Holmes Run Parkway.
• The city wants $500,000 to make improvements to Gadsby’s Tavern, which include installing a new heating and air-conditioning system, upgrading the rear courtyard area and restoring the historic ice well. Potential improvements also include a new elevator, upgraded restrooms, renovations to the ballroom and facilities to bring the building in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• The city wants $500,000 for DASH bus shelters.
• The city wants $450,000 to conduct a feasibility study to provide options for the renovation of sections of the George Washington Parkway trails that are located on National Park service property.
• The city wants $353,249 to develop a real-time passenger information system for Metro and DASH, which help passengers find arrival times from remote locations.
• The city wants $300,000 for mobile computers for first-line responders. This amount would buy 20 laptops for the Fire Department and nine laptops to the Sheriff’s office. City officials say the laptops are critical to responding efficiently to emergency situations.
• The city wants $100,000 to design and install a memorial at the site of the Freedmen’s Cemetery as part of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project.
• The city wants unspecified funds to begin the process of designing a new north entrance for the Eisenhower Metro facility.
• The city wants unspecified funds to assist in the widening of Eisenhower Avenue.
• The city wants unspecified funds to relocate the Metro bus barn, which is located in North Old Town. City officials would like to see this area converted into residential property.
• The city wants unspecified funds to improve trail and bikeway connections between the Eisenhower Trail and the proposed Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trails. Such a trail would begin near the east end of Cameron Run and flow under the Beltway toward near the southeast edge of the Telegraph Road interchange.