Looking Ahead at Challenges of 2018 in Lee District

Looking Ahead at Challenges of 2018 in Lee District

Among priorities: revitalizing Springfield and Route 1.

The TSA’s new location is here at 6601 Springfield Center Drive where there is currently a non-descript warehouse-type building.

The TSA’s new location is here at 6601 Springfield Center Drive where there is currently a non-descript warehouse-type building. Photo by Mike Salmon.

— The New Year presents a tremendous opportunity for us to continue the great momentum we’ve got going from 2017. I am particularly looking toward advancements in education and transportation, and already am preparing to work with my colleagues as we continue to bring residents the most modernized services available.

During my term as Chairman of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, I worked with a bipartisan group of local and state elected officials to create a plan for fixing the ongoing Metro funding, management, and governance issues. Our residents deserve a reliable and affordable means of transportation around the metropolitan area, and we need to see major improvements.

As always, I am pressing the General Assembly to approve more school funding. While I was proud to pass a budget that transferred $2 billion dollars to FCPS, there is still a need for more state funding. Virginia is among the top 10 states in income and the bottom 10 in education funding. That has to change.

As Chairman of the Board of Supervisors’ Budget Committee, I am already working on balancing our budget during another tough fiscal year. Especially as of late, I am looking to balance being very mindful of federal cuts, our ability to maintain services, and the ability of our residents to afford them. Among my top budget priorities is the streamlining of service delivery in order to absorb state and federal cuts to human services. These services are being taken from some of our most vulnerable residents and I’m committed to finding a way to overcome these cuts.

I am also continuing our ongoing strategies to revitalize Springfield and Route 1, working with other local elected officials and business leaders to accomplish our shared goal. We’ll soon be approving a decades-overdue overhaul of the entire comprehensive plan for Route 1 known as Embark, and securing state and/or federal money to advance the next phase of Route 1 improvements. The plan currently seeks to bring comprehensive improvements to the area on and around Route 1, easing travel, improving safety, protecting our environment, revitalizing land use, and keeping affordable housing for residents.

We are also looking forward to the beginning of the Transportation Security Administration’s move into Springfield, an announcement that made national news and symbolizes the continued advancement of the Springfield community. While the completion of the TSA move is still a few years away, the groundwork has already begun. I am especially pleased that the TSA will be occupying a taxable property, bringing federal dollars into the County budget, while also generating jobs. Additionally, the move is forecasted to change the commutes of many federal employees, who will now be ending their commute in Springfield and reducing congestion between here and the District.

I am also working to amend the County zoning ordinances, as part of a comprehensive program called zMOD. In doing so, the Board of Supervisors is aiming to make our ordinances more dynamic and responsive to the community’s needs and make the experience more business and resident-friendly. County staff are already hard at work overhauling the entire system, and I am confident that we will soon see the benefits of doing so.

I expect 2018 to be just as fruitful as the past year was for us here in Lee District, and I hope to see you all at my Open House from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 20 at my office’s community room, located at 6121 Franconia Road. My staff and I will be attending and we look forward to sitting down and talking Lee District with our neighbors and friends, while also enjoying refreshments and the works of the Springfield Art Guild. Happy New Year!