Former U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood will head an independent panel requested by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) to study Metro’s governance and long-term financial needs in hopes of building a regional consensus on how to fix the troubled transit system, officials said Thursday.
The announcement came as Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said the Washington region must act this year to find funding to pay for repairs and other investments in the system, and to fix what he called its “unsustainable cost model.”
The two developments were the latest signs that efforts are accelerating to deal with Metro’s structural issues at a critical time when ridership is declining and local jurisdictions say they can’t afford to keep increasing their subsidies for the system.
Virginia will pay for the panel to be headed by LaHood, although McAuliffe hopes Maryland and Virginia will contribute as well. The panel is to report by fall in time to propose legislation in early 2018 in the Virginia and Maryland general assemblies to set up new funding mechanisms for Metro, Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said.
By bringing in a respected outsider such as LaHood to head the effort, McAuliffe hopes to avoid the parochial infighting among Virginia, Maryland and the District that has stalled efforts to reform Metro in the past, Layne said.
McAuliffe also hopes to head off efforts in Congress to appoint a federal control board to take over Metro, which would risk focusing only on reducing costs and not on providing resources that Metro needs, he said.
“It does need to be both governance and funding,” Layne said. “We need an independent, no-holds-barred look at this.”
McAuliffe was to announce the initiative in an interview at 10 a.m. Thursday on WTOP Radio.
LaHood brings a bipartisan background to the job. Although he is a Republican, he served as transportation secretary for President Obama, a Democrat, from 2009 to 2013.
Layne said McAuliffe spoke to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) Wednesday evening, and Hogan approved of the effort. McAuliffe also was hoping to get support from D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D).
Separately, at a Metro board meeting, Wiedefeld signaled he will take a more vocal role in urging increased funding for the struggling system. He has resisted doing so in the past, preferring to focus on addressing safety and other management concerns, and leaving the politically charged issue of funding to the board.
Local Headlines newsletter
Daily headlines about the Washington region.
On Thursday, however, he addressed the issue more directly than in the past.
“Metro and the region still face looming financial issues,” Wiedefeld said. “There are two priorities the region must tackle this year — long-term capital funding needed to maintain safe and reliable service, and Metro’s unsustainable cost model. Simply put, much more needs to be done to address funding needs and control costs that management actions alone cannot solve.”
Wiedefeld said he would provide a detailed analysis of the system’s operating and long-term needs in the next month.
“The requirements and recommendations I lay out will be specific, actionable and ambitious in terms of providing the tools we need to effectively manage this agency and to safely and efficiently deliver reliable service to our customers,” he said.
Wiedefeld’s comments came as the Metro board was set to approve a series of fare hikes and service cuts to offset a looming budget deficit. In recent months, Wiedefeld has eliminated 500 positions and stated his intention to cut 500 more jobs. Metro has also instituted a freeze on non-safety-critical spending and tapped operating surpluses from prior years to remain financially afloat.
By Robert McCartney and Faiz Siddiqui March 23 at 10:02 AM
From the Greater Washington Board of Trade
By now you probably saw our Op-Ed in the Washington Post (3/5/2017) asking for Metros’ board reform and appropriate dedicated funding.
We can’t accomplish this alone, that’s why we are asking you to help us get the word out by reaching out to your business contacts, employees, and friends and spread the word on this important issue.
The need is urgent as the financial situation becomes more critical. To sustain progress, substantial new funds must be secured. The Board of Trade continues to have Metro as a priority issue and is working to advance new oversight and finance mechanisms that ensure long-term viability of our regional economic engine.
We have created this one page document to help identify the key issues of concern and get the word out.
Beginning March 4 through April 9, Metro SafeTrack Surge #13 will impact the Blue and Yellow lines. During this surge, trains will be sharing a single track, specifically Braddock Road & Huntington/Van Dorn. S. and King Street-Old Town & Van Dorn. Commuters should expect major delays and service reductions with trains only operating every 24 minutes. Throughout peak service times, trains are expected to be very crowded.
In an effort to help improve your employee’s commute, we are encouraging all employers that may be impacted by this surge to commit to pledge for Telework Week, March 6 – 10. This would be a great time to help improve the morale of your employees while still ensuring organization productivity and continuation of operations. To learn more and make your commitment, visit www.teleworkva.org/pledge. You can also find all alternate travel options in Fairfax County for SafeTrack Surge #13 at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack.
Final Report to the Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership
2017 Session – March 1, 2017
The following report highlights the final outcomes on the Partnership’s priorities for the 2017 session.
Economic Development/Business Taxes
• GO Virginia grant and research funding preserved – The final budget amendments restore $7.5 million of the Governor’s proposed cuts in funding for GO Virginia. This takes GO Virginia funding to a total of $28,050,000 for FY17 and FY18. Specifically, the budget provides up to $650,000 for each regional council to undertake their economic growth and diversification planning process, invest in capacity-building activities, and cover initial administrative expenses. It also allocates $10,900,000 in grants, which will be disbursed on a per-capita basis to support specific regional projects, and $11,300,000 for grants awarded on a statewide competitive basis. While less in total than the appropriation for GO Virginia following the 2016 General Assembly session, this funding lays a strong foundation for future growth.
• Business input factored into economic impact of proposed state regulations – HB 1943 (Peace) and SB 1431 (Reeves) – This legislation passed, ensuring that business feedback is factored into economic impact analyses for proposed state regulations.
• BPOL collection methodology clarity to be provided – HB 1961 (Hugo) – This legislation passed, providing an equal playing field for businesses across Virginia, ensuring BPOL is collected accurately and providing a pathway for greater clarity with regard to BPOL collection for businesses operating in multiple states.
• Proposed fee increases for restaurants and delis defeated – Prior to the start of the 2017 session., the Governor proposed increases to the inspection fees conducted by the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services from $40 to $585, impacting groceries and convenience stores, and the Department of Health’s restaurant fee from $40 to $285, which would have impacted all restaurants, as well as entities that serve prepared foods. The Partnership strongly opposed these fee increases, which were removed in the final budget approved by the legislature.
• Work group established to study issues related to accelerated sales tax (AST) collection for retailers – The Partnership opposed delays to the planned phase out of the accelerated sales tax, which impacts retailers in Virginia. Specifically, in June 2017, the threshold of which retailers still had to pay AST was planned to increase from $2.5 million to $10 million; however, the Governor proposed not raising the threshold in June 2017 and then only raising the threshold to $4 million in June 2018. Unfortunately, the budget approved by the legislature did not support phase-out of the AST. That being said, the budget did include language directing the Department of Taxation to convene a work group to consider the AST, challenges and issues related to it for retailers, possible alternatives to AST collection and related issues. Members of the work group include members of the staff for both money committees, the Secretary of Finance and stakeholders from the retail industry. Given the repeated reliance on the AST to address budget shortfalls, this work group presents an opportunity to increase understanding of the challenges related to the AST.
• Minimum wage increase mandates defeated – HB 1444 (Rasoul), HB 1771 (Plum), HB 2309 (Simon), SB 785 (Marsden), SB 978 (Dance) – These bills, which would have mandated increases in the minimum wage, where defeated
• Bill phasing out R&D tax credit programs defeated – SB 1540 (Sturtevant) – This legislation and corresponding budget amendments, which sought to phase out two important research and development expenses tax credits over a period of 10 years, eliminating the tax credits by 2027, was defeated.
• Veteran’s entrepreneurship pilot program failed to advance – HB 1841 (Stolle) and SB 1114 (McPike) – Despite Partnership support, this legislation, which would have established a pilot program that increased entrepreneurship opportunities for Virginia veterans and transitioning service members, failed to advance due to budgetary limitations.
• Workforce credentials program funding preserved – The final budget passed by the legislature protects the $4 million in funding allocated for FY17 to allow the workforce credentials program to continue. While the additional $1 million proposed by the Governor was not included in the budget amendments, we look forward to working to expand this successful program in next year’s budget.
• Cost of Competing Adjustment (COCA) for public school support positions preserved – The final budget maintains a 10.6 percent cost-to-compete adjustment for public school support positions in Planning District 8, taking into account the increased cost to hire and train qualified support positions to support our public school system. While this does not represent full restoration of the COCA, we consider it to be a success that the adjustment was maintained at this level, as opposed to being removed altogether, as it had been prior to the 2016 session.
• Salary increases for teachers and instructional staff supported – This final budget approved by the legislature provides funding for the state's share of a 2 percent salary increase for instructional and support positions. This replaces the 1.5 percent bonus proposed by the Governor. An additional $34.1 million was also added to the Supplemental Lottery Per Pupil Allocation, bringing the total up to $191.3 million in the second year of the biennium.
• School Divisions of Innovation program established – HB 1981 (Greason) – This legislation provides a mechanism for school divisions to apply to the Virginia Board of Education to be exempt from certain administrative requirements in order to adopt alternative evidence-based, innovative, system-wide programs that are focused on improving student learning, engaging and motivating a greater number of students, promoting personalized learning opportunities, and increasing student success in whatever their career pathway may be.
• Mechanism to earn college credit for apprenticeships created – HB 1592 (James) and SB 999 (Ruff) – This legislation passed, creating a way for college credit to be earned for apprenticeship credentials, supporting the attainment of higher degrees for those seeking to advance in the workforce.
• Dual enrollment policy created – HB 1662 (Greason) and SB 1534 (Sturtevant) – This legislation requires that the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) establish a policy for granting undergraduate course credit to any freshman student who has successfully completed a dual enrollment course at a comprehensive community college to help to streamline the workforce development pipeline and minimize debt associated with higher education.
• Financial aid grant program reformed – HB 2427 (Cox) and SB 1527 (Saslaw) – This legislation was passed, enabling the Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP) to be better structured to help the most individuals with a demonstrated financial need to earn a degree within four years in a way that is as impactful as possible.
• Industry certifications considered in high school accreditation – HB 1708 (Filler-Corn) – This legislation will ensure the industry certification credentials earned by students while in high school are included in the student outcome measures considered in the standards of accreditation by the Board of Education to help to incentivize high schools to promote certification attainment in a comparable way to other outcome measures for which they are accountable.
• High School Redesign delay averted – HB 2142 (LeMunyon) – This bill, which would have required a one-year delay for the high school redesign, otherwise slated for launch for incoming freshman in 2018, failed to advance with strong Partnership opposition.
• Metro Safety Commission established – HB 2136 (LeMunyon) and SB 1251 (Barker) – This legislation passed, establishing a Metro Safety Commission (MSC), an independent body that will oversee and monitor safety for the WMATA Metrorail system to ensure the long-term safety and reliability of Metro, as well as to protect approximately $6 million statewide in annual federal transit funding.
• Multi-jurisdictional discussions to revise WMATA Compact to be initiated – HJR 617 (LeMunyon) – This legislation directs the Governor to review the WMATA Compact and enter into discussions with his counterparts in the District of Columbia and Maryland to identify possible improvements to the agreement, particularly with regard to the governance, financing, and operation of Metro.
• Regional transportation planning communication and direction provided – HB 2137 (LeMunyon) – This legislation passed, requiring the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) to publish on its website any land use or transportation elements of a locality's comprehensive plan that are inconsistent with the Authority's regional transportation plan, to revise its regional plan a minimum of every five years, and to certify that the regional plan would reduce congestion to the greatest extent practicable or, if unable to so certify, specify the reasons and any need for cooperation by other regional entities.
• Bill Authorizing Use of Regional Transportation Funds for Sidewalks Defeated – HB 2121 (Keam) – This legislation, which would have allowed the 70 percent of Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) funds intended for regional transportation projects to be used for sidewalks, was defeated.
• Bill creating gas tax floor in NV and Hampton Roads defeated – SB 1456 (Wagner) – Despite Partnership support, this legislation, which would have placed a floor on the 2.1 percent tax imposed on motor vehicle fuels sold in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads by ensuring that the tax is not imposed on a sales price less than the statewide average sales price on February 20, 2013, failed to advance. This is important in order to provide a more reliable and consistent mechanism to support transit services throughout the region, including VRE and the WMATA local funding matches. We look forward to working with our fellow northern Virginia and Hampton Roads business community to advance this in 2018.
• Direct primary care agreements clarified as not being insurance – HB 2053 (Landes) and SB 800 (Stanley) – This legislation clarifies that direct primary care agreements are not insurance and therefore, should not be regulated as such, enabling additional benefit options for employers to consider, as well as a way to encourage preventative care for employees to support lower absenteeism, increased worker productivity, higher moral and improved overall employee health and wellness.
The attached bill chart provides additional detail on each priority, including the status of Governor action. Thank you for the opportunity to support the Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership during the 2017 legislative session.
Week 6 Report – February 16, 2017
As we approach the final week of the 2017 legislative session, the following highlights activity over the past week on key Partnership priorities. The following bills that do not have companion bills advanced this week:
We are very pleased that the following bill, which the Partnership opposed, failed to advance:
The following Senate bill, which did not have a House companion, failed to advance this week:
With respect to the Partnership’s budget priorities, the following outlines the major issues of focus as the conferees conduct their work over the final week of the session:
The following provides a quick report on some of the Partnership’s other budget priorities, where the House and Senate budgets are close to one another:
2017 Budget Priorities – Crossover Report
February 13, 2017
Protect GO Virginia Grant and Research Funding – The GO Virginia initiative provides an innovative model for regional collaboration focused on economic growth. The Partnership supports maintaining the full $35.5 million in funding for GO Virginia.
STATUS: The House budget includes $4,500,000 in year one and $23,550,000 in year 2 for the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Fund. The Senate budget includes $1,950,000 in year one and $26,100,000 in year two. Click here for additional detail regarding the allocation differences between the House and Senate budgets.
Investment in the Veteran Entrepreneurship Pilot Program – The Partnership is strongly supporting legislation will increase entrepreneurship opportunities for Virginia veterans and transitioning service members, which is advancing with bipartisan support, as well as the proposed investment of $900,000 per year to fund awards that will be granted to multiple organizations to expand services to veteran entrepreneurs.
STATUS: Neither the House nor the Senate budget included funding for this program.
Protect Workforce Credentials Program Funding – The Partnership strongly supports maintenance of the $4 million in funding allocated for FY17 to allow the workforce credentials program to continue, as well as allocation of the additional proposed $1 million to expand the program moving forward.
STATUS: Both the House and Senate budgets protect the current funding for this program. In addition, the Senate budget retains the $1 million to increase this program, which was included in the Governor’s budget, while the House budget removes the additional funding.
Preserve Cost of Competing Adjustment (COCA) for school support positions. The Partnership strongly supports retaining the increase in Standards of Quality (SOQ) payments for support positions in the second year of the COCA rates paid to school divisions in Planning District Eight.
STATUS: Neither of these budget amendments were included in the House or Senate budgets. The good news is that the 10.6 percent COCA adjustment in the Governor’s proposed budget was preserved in both budgets.
Support salary increases for teachers and instructional staff – The Partnership supports preserving the two percent salary increase for teachers and other instructional personnel that was approved during the 2016 budget process.
STATUS: The Senate includes the following item regarding teacher salaries, which replaces the proposed $55.5 million (or 1.5 percent) in one-time bonus funding proposed in the Governor’s budget.
SENATE: Item 139 #2s (Education)
Direct Aid to Public Education
This amendment provides funding for the state's share of a 2.0 percent base salary adjustment, for SOQ instructional and support positions and Academic Year Governor's School instructional and support positions. The amount of state funding is calculated based on an effective date of July 10, 2017. School divisions shall have the flexibility to qualify for these state funds if they certify that they have provided or will provide an increase of at least 2.0 percent at some point during the 2016-18 biennium. In other words, at least 2.0 percent in FY 2017 or at least 2.0 percent in FY 2018, or via two separate increases in each fiscal year, such as 1.0 percent in FY 2017 and 1.0 percent in FY 2018 that together add to at least 2.0 percent. This 2.0 percent base salary increase funding is in lieu of the $55.5 million for the 1.5 percent bonus proposed in the budget as introduced. In addition, this amendment re-directs $27.7 million of the $157.2 million total in FY 2018 from the Supplemental Lottery Per Pupil Allocation to this purpose.
The House budget includes the additional $55 million in bonus funds that was provided in the Governor’s budget, and adds $6.1 million to that amount, with flexibility regarding how those funds are spent. This funding could be directed to teacher salaries or other needs as determined by individual school divisions. Details are below.
HOUSE: Item 139 #5h (Education)
Direct Aid to Public Education
This amendment provides $6.1 million the second year from the general fund to increase the Lottery Per Pupil Allocation (PPA). In addition, the $55.5 million from the bonus funding which was included in the introduced budget, has been redirected into the Lottery PPA, bringing the total up to $218.7 million in the second year, which is 40 percent of the total Lottery Proceeds Fund.
Support dual enrollment policy language – The Partnership supports budget language that allows local school divisions and community colleges to negotiate individual credit hour rates for dual enrollment courses taught at the community colleges.
STATUS: Language setting a dual enrollment policy was included in both the House or Senate budgets – see below:
HOUSE: Item 139 #1h (Education)
Direct Aid to Public Education
This amendment will allow local school divisions, VCCS community colleges and other two-year colleges to negotiate individual credit hour rates for dual enrollment courses taught at the community colleges or at any other two-year college campuses.
SENATE: Item 213 #1s (Education)
Virginia Community College System
This amendment directs VCCS, DOE, and SCHEV to recommend certain changes to the structure of dual enrollment. In the 2015-16 academic year, 37,926 high school students earned college credit through dual enrollment at one of the 23 community colleges. In Virginia, dual enrollment is delivered primarily at the high school by a faculty member who is verified by the college as qualified to teach college-level courses. The college and the high school enter into a contract agreement that sets out the terms and conditions upon which college courses will be offered.
Oppose efforts to delay phase-out of accelerated sales tax (AST) collection – The Partnership opposes planned phase out of the accelerated sales tax. Specifically, in June 2017, the threshold of which retailers still had to pay AST was planned to increase from $2.5 million to $10 million; however, the Governor proposed not raising the threshold in June 2017 and then only raising the threshold to $4 million in June 2018.
STATUS: The Senate budget includes the following item regarding the AST. The House budget does not appear to include a comparable item. We are working to confirm this, as well as the implications of the Senate item.
SENATE: Item 274 #1s (Finance)
Department of Taxation
This amendment directs the Department of Taxation to convene a workgroup for the purposes of examining the accelerated sales tax (AST) requirement. The workgroup shall consider alternatives and potential limitations to the current AST requirement, and may examine other issues related to retail sales and use tax collections as it deems appropriate. The workgroup will include the staffs of the Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees, the Secretary of Finance, and stakeholders from the retail industry. Staff support will be provided by the Department of Taxation and Division of Legislative Services as needed.
Oppose excessive fee increases for restaurants and delis – The Partnership is opposed to the Governor’s proposal to increase the inspection fees conducted by the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services from $40 to $585, impacting groceries and convenience stores, and the Department of Health’s restaurant fee from $40 to $285, which impacts all restaurants, as well as entities that serve prepared foods.
STATUS: The House budget includes the following item on this issue. While a floor amendment on these inspection fees was proposed in the Senate, it did not pass.
HOUSE: Item 295 #1h (Health and Human Resources)
Department of Health
This amendment adds $4.3 million from the general fund and reduces $3.2 million from nongeneral funds from a proposed increase in the restaurant inspection fee contained in the introduced budget. Language is modified to return the fee to $40 from the proposed fee of $285.
Decouple unrelated transportation and transit funding from action on the Metro Safety Commission and the WMATA compact – The Partnership opposed two proposed budget amendments that will negatively impact the allocation of transportation and transit funding in Virginia.
Specifically, the Partnership opposed House Budget Amendment Item 4-5.03 #3h (LaRock), which makes all funding for the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) contingent upon passage of Virginia legislation establishing the WMATA Safety Commission Interstate Compact including enactment clauses requiring Virginia jurisdictions with metrorail stations to adopt Metrorail Service Districts in the areas surrounding their stations designed to be dedicated funding sources for operations, maintenance and capital improvements, and an enactment clause mirroring Section 66 Chapter 771 of the 2009 Acts of Assembly, relating to project labor agreements.
The Partnership also opposed House Budget Amendment Item 448 #1h (LeMunyon), which prohibits the distribution of any state dollars, or any funding from the localities in Northern Virginia or the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission or Transportation Authority to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority after April 30, 2018, unless the signatories of the WMATA compact have agreed to revisions to or a replacement of the Compact.
STATUS: Neither of these budget amendments were included in the House or Senate budgets.
Click here to review the week four report.
Click here to review the week two report.
With over 200 Networking opportunities, including Business, Bagels & More; our Business Success education series; Chamber 101; monthly mixers; and Leadshare groups, Chamber members also benefited from opportunities by:
Committees and Groups:
We once again retained a lobbyist for General Assembly and experienced another outstanding year of success with pro-business bills. Our many major legislative victories this year will benefit you on business taxes, healthcare, transportation and economic drivers, as well as education and workforce development. Our Candidates’ Reception in September provided members with a unique one-on-one opportunity with some future lawmakers. We also advocated on your behalf with the National Capital Transportation Planning Board supporting:
Your Chamber is an agent for growth and vision!
Education and Jobs:
In our own backyard:
Why do you care? Because we saved you money and pushed for new efficiencies and transparencies.
Yes, Virginia, your chambers are working for you!
No more unregulated medical services pricing spectrum!
The Worker’s Compensation Commission will now establish a fee schedule for medical services covered by Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation system.
Some tax transparency!
New law requires information pertinent to a tax assessment appeal to be disclosed to the appealing party under a confidential judicial protective order.
Excessive sick leave defeated! Bill would have required private employers to give each full-time employee paid sick days at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked.
Major economic driver for region maintained!
Bill extended the sunset date for the sales and use tax exemption for certain data centers from 2020 to 2035.
The Queen of this Year’s Bills! Meet GO Virginia!
Creates the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board and authorizes the establishment of regional councils that will jointly recommend and administer new state funds for regional economic, workforce development and infrastructure projects to support economic development and business retention, with requirement on collaboration between jurisdictions
We support Small Business R&D!
Bill passed that increases the total available amount of the Virginia small business Research and Development tax credit, increases the credit for qualified companies and extends the credit to 2022. In addition, it creates a new Research and Development tax credit for large companies that spend in excess of $5 million on research and development.
Speeding Up Workforce Entry!
Creates a new grant program for students taking noncredit workforce training at public colleges and universities who subsequently attain a relevant workforce credential
Education to Match Workforce Needs!
Requires the State Board of Education to work with businesses, local school systems and higher education to redesign high school graduation requirements to better emphasize the knowledge and skills that students should attain during high school in order to be successful in the workforce.
Avoiding Insurance Increases for Small Business!
Protects small employers, defined as a business with 50 or fewer employees, from significant federal mandates and potential health insurance cost increases.
The Proclamation of Hispanic Heritage Month in Herndon, VA
Although Hispanic Heritage Month has been celebrated since 1968, on September 13, 2016, the Mayor and Town Council of the Town of Herndon, Virginia, proclaimed September 15 through October 15, 2016 as Hispanic Heritage Month in the Town of Herndon. This month is dedicated to recognizing the positive effect Americans of Hispanic and Latin heritage have on our community through many fields.
Click here to see the official document.
The first 10th Congressional District Debate took place at the National Conference Center on Thursday, October 6. Audience members were able to hear which issues Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock and Democratic challenger LuAnn Bennett both agree and disagree. Issues such as healthcare, immigration reform, climate change, and taxes were all addressed. Bennett strived to connect Comstock with Donald Trump, and Comstock used her party’s House majority as leverage. The second debate is quickly approaching and is scheduled for October 19, at the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Click here for a full recap on the first debate.
A Letter from the Executive Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs regarding Virginia’s Right-to-Work laws
Dear Chamber Leadership,
Is anyone tired of the campaign season yet? With all of the negative ads and the absence of discussion around issues, there is a very important issue on the ballot this November aside from the Presidency and Congress. This Election Day Virginia voters will vote on an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia to protect Virginia’s Right-to-Work laws.
Legislators and the business community are looking to the Chamber network to lead the charge to protecting and preserving Virginia’s Right-to-Work. The Chamber PAC has created a referendum committee called the Workplace Freedom Committee allowing us to engage directly in advocating for the passage of the amendment.
There are a lot of challenges facing the passage of the Right-to-Work amendment including the labor unions’ misrepresentations, confusing ballot language, and an unpredictable 2016 electorate. We know that nationally, Republicans, Democrats and Independents overwhelmingly support the workplace freedoms right to work laws protect. However, our challenges are real with the confusion and misrepresentation around the issue. A poll released this week from the Christopher Newport Wason Center for Public Policy shows it is a virtual tie.
We continue to educate voters and to make sure they understand how important the Right-to-Work is to both the individual employee and the overall business climate of the Commonwealth. We have launched our website to educate and serve as a resource for the facts surrounding Right-to-Work. At the site, www.VAWorkplaceFreedom, there are documents available for download and links to resources related to the ballot question. Also, see our email below introducing people to the issue and the urgency of supporting the amendment.
Please help us combat the opposition to Workplace Freedom and ensure that your members know about this issue. We need to educate voters to Vote Yes in support of the Right-to-Work.
Thank you for your continued pursuit to make Virginia the best state for business.
With warm regards I remain,
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ryan L. Dunn
Executive Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs
Office - (804) 237-1455
Cell - (804) 677-1090
Northern Virginia - A steering committee, comprised of top Northern Virginia business, education and economic development leaders, has been formed to develop the Regional Council. This Council will identify, review and propose local projects that will compete with other regions of the state for funds from the GO Virginia economic development program.
An initiative of the Coalition of Northern Virginia Chambers, the Steering Committee has the task of identifying candidates to serve on the GO Virginia Regional Council for Northern Virginia and to initiate the development of a regional economic development strategy.
GO Virginia is a bipartisan initiative adopted by the Virginia General Assembly and Governor McAuliffe to encourage greater collaboration amongst the Commonwealth's localities, higher education and private sector partners on projects that create jobs and spur economic growth.
At their first meeting, Steering Committee members named Matt McQueen, of Northrop Grumman, and Kerry Donley, of John Marshall Bank, the committee's Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively.
"Alongside Kerry, I am proud to help lead this important effort to develop the strongest possible GO Virginia Regional Council for Northern Virginia. By encouraging greater collaboration and less parochialism, this groundbreaking initiative will change the paradigm for economic development in Virginia. Along with my fellow Steering Committee members, I am excited to be a part of that change," said McQueen.
"On behalf of the Coalition of Northern Virginia Chambers, I want to thank these business leaders for investing their time and expertise in this Steering Committee. The Governor and General Assembly have demonstrated tremendous confidence in the ability of Virginia's region's to create the partnerships and spirit of collaboration needed to drive our economy forward. Northern Virginia's chambers of commerce are fully committed to that goal and to GO Virginia's success," said Mark Ingrao, President & CEO of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.
September 20, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Ingrao, Greater Reston Chamber - 703.930.6518
Tony Howard, Loudoun County Chamber - 571.209.9020
Dulles Metrorail reports:
Construction of Phase 2 of the Silver Line has hit the 30 percent mark and design is virtually complete, according to information supplied by the Dulles Rail Project team to the Federal Transit Administration in mid-July.
Work continues at station sites and at 16 of the wayside support facilities -- such as traction power substations and train control rooms -- as well as ongoing mass excavation at the Loudoun Gateway Station site.
What the next 6-8 weeks of construction will bring:
At Dulles Airport:
For Immediate Release
Contact: Marcia McAllister
Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project associated with MWAA
(703) 572-0506; Marcia.email@example.com
It has been predicted that the Arlington Memorial Bridge will be closed down by 2021 unless its much needed maintenance and reconstruction is addressed. Fortunately, a major step has been taken toward reconstructing the Arlington Memorial Bridge with a $90 million federal grant. However, the Park Service is concerned where the remaining $160 million will come from to fulfill the $250 million project.
To read the full article, click here.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has been awarded a federal grant of $165 million for the Atlantic Gateway program. This program contains rail, highway, and bridge projects designed to transform some of the worst travel conditions around the I-95 corridor. Governor McAuliffe also expects this program to stimulate economic growth in our Commonwealth.
To find out more about the Atlantic Gateway program, click here.
The Atlantic Gateway program is a project to uncork Virginia’s I-95 corridor, but the specific projects executed in Hampton Roads will ripple throughout the Commonwealth and further north. Given the numerous ports in the Hampton Roads area, it is expected that improved transportation efficiency will not only make travel times more reliable for people, but it will also improve the reliability and capacity of transporting goods. These projects include rail, highway and tunnel work.
Read more about the Atlantic Gateway program plans for Hampton Roads here.
Export.gov, an organization designed to help American businesses plan their international sales strategies and succeed in the global market, has several opportunities for American business men and women to learn about global export and trade:
The Board of Trade has spent the past several weeks developing guidance to minimize the disruption of Metro’s SafeTrack on your operations and your employees’ commute. We have worked through an excellent task force, partnered with the Washington Business Journal for a special supplement and resource guide (to come out later this week), contracted with preparedness experts Witt O’Brien’s to develop a tool kit and conducted a 200-person special briefing in collaboration with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
A special online section has been created where you will find all of these resources and more:
A special arrangement has been made with Enterprise Holdings to extend a very special car pool and van pool electronic matching service called Zimride that you will hear more about in the coming days. This service makes a private match available to all Board of Trade member companies’ employees at no cost.
Metro SafeTrack will last almost a year in order to tackle the necessary work to get Metro back to a safe and reliable transit system. This work will be disruptive and our efforts on your behalf were designed to help you minimize the disruption as much as possible. I hope you find these materials to be of value.
James C. Dinegar
President and CEO
Click here for direct access to the comprehensive resource page on our website.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Savannah Kaiser
Marketing & Communications Manager
Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce
Washington Metro’s first Safety Surge begins Saturday, June 4, at 7:00am, and is scheduled to continue until closing on Thursday, June 16. A second Safety Surge will follow, starting Saturday, June 18, at 7:00am, and will continue until closing on Sunday, July 3. Both Safety Surges will affect the Orange, Silver, and Blue lines; therefore, it is highly recommended that Metro riders seek alternative transportation.
For more details on Safety Surge #1 and #2, click here.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Savannah Kaiser
Marketing & Communications Manager
Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce
Thursday, May 12, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed legislation directed to transform how high schools prepare their students for the future.
Despite its popularity, not all high school students are destined to attend college. Some would be moving straight into the workforce, but Gov. McAuliffe explains that there’s a lack of preparatory resources for these students. Moreover, the foundation Virginia high schools are based on is out of date.
To learn more about this legislation’s significance, click here.
During the second week of May, Virginia Department of Transportation is holding two public information meetings to discuss the widening of I-66 inside the Beltway from the Dulles Connector Road to Fairfax Drive.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance is pleased the legislative session compromise between Governor McAuliffe and the House and Senate leadership has led to the start of this project.
Click here to get more information on the upcoming meetings and learn more about the widening of I-66.
Both the supervisor of the Dulles District and the supervisor of the Blue Ridge District are determined to provide another transportation connection between Dulles North and Dulles South.
Today there is a lot of congestion within the Belmont Ridge Road, Evergreen Mills Road, and Stone Springs Boulevard corridor. Supervisors Letourneau and Buffington expect the extension of Northstar Boulevard to be a solution to the congestion issue; however, funding is imperative.
To learn more about what you can do to help improve transportation in the Dulles area or what this transportation project is about, click here.
How is Virginia doing in the job field? According to the Virginia Chamber Foundation, 2016 has gotten off to a good start for the Commonwealth.
While unemployment continues to drop, employment, wages, and labor force participation are on the rise.