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Column: 2013—Year With a Silver Lining?

As I sit looking out on Lake Anne on a gray post-Christmas day, I look back on 2012 and begin to feel optimistic about 2013. But, unlike past years, when my prognostications tended to be overly optimistic—e.g., predicting Reston’s achieving town status (as originally intended by Robert Simon) and escaping the oppression of Fairfax County. This year I’m sticking to cold, hard, objective analysis.

First, Reston’s big happening in 2013, one which will have major ripple effects: the arrival of the Silver Line at Wiehle. Service should begin late 2013. It won’t actually be rail to Dulles. Initially and for several years, it will be rail to Tysons Corner and eventually (after four stops) onward towards Washington, D.C. It will be a long ride to D.C., but a comfortable one.

For three to five years, the Wiehle Avenue station will be the end of the line, and traffic in Reston will be a nightmare from just about the day the station opens. Fairfax County and VDOT have combined to make zero major supporting road infrastructure improvements to support rail. The first, a bridge at Soapstone, is due in about 20 years—yep, 20 years. So, until “Phase 2” is completed and train service actually goes to Dulles, thousands will flock to the Wiehle Station from the west and south. Gridlock will own us for those three to five years.

Another positive is that we can expect a rebirth at the ghost town Tall Oaks area. And, the long-awaited Lake Anne “revitalization” will actually take place, albeit at the county’s glacial pace. Hopefully, our soon-to-be 99-year-old Founder Robert Simon will live to see construction on the latter project he fought so hard for. If done right, both developments could be very positive for Reston.

A more negative ripple effect of rail to Tysons is the likely redevelopment of what is now 166 acres of green space in the heart of Reston called Reston National Golf Club. It is hard to imagine that our Fairfax overlords will not ultimately cave to the corporate powers. I really hope I’m wrong on this one. Go, Rescue Reston! Also in 2013, we Virginians elect a whole new House of 100 Delegates. Not really. What actually happens is that 90 percent or more of those who run for re-election will win in tailor made districts—no doubt due to the fantastic job they’re doing making reproductive decisions for women and such. There are currently 68 Republicans or Republican sympathizing Independents and 32 Democrats in the House. Republicans may lose a net couple of seats, but not much more. Democrats failed to even challenge the majority of Republican incumbents last time.

What should be really exciting are the statewide 2013 races for governor, lt. governor, and attorney general. Terry McAuliffe, the pro-business and a bit-too-centrist for me Democratic candidate for the top job, will beat knuckle-dragging Ken Cuccinelli and will become governor. While Cooch will pretend he’s not the rightwing nut his record shows, I don’t think he will fool enough Virginians to ooze into the job. And, it is likely the Republicans’ convention will be controlled by Cooch’s frothing friends and will nominate Cooch clones for lt. governor and attorney general, opening the way for a Democratic sweep.