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Bus rapid transit on Route 1 ranks low on state priority list

Three of my bills have been passed by the Senate and moved on to the House.  Mostly importantly, we reached a compromise solution that will require the City of Alexandria to have measures in place to prevent 95% of all raw sewage discharges into the Potomac River by 2025.

Reaching this conclusion was not easy and the City is not happy about it, but water quality is a concern to all Virginia’s regardless of political party.  The resolution would not have occurred without the help of City of Alexandria Senator Adam Ebbin and Committee Chairman Richard Stuart who represents the Northern Neck.

Second, I also introduced legislation this session to require Virginia to take the initial steps to start regulating internet lenders.  Today, Native American Indian Tribes and foreign companies are making loans to Virginians over the internet.  Interest rates between 300% and 5,000% have been documented in the state.  My legislation passed the Senate with bipartisan support and headed to the House of Delegates. 

Also, we received mixed news on the funding of widening U.S. 1 and the construction of bus rapid transit.   Two years ago, the General Assembly enacted legislation to require all transportation projects to be objectively scored for congestion relief, economic development, safety, environmental benefits, and relative cost before being acted upon by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.  The intent was to remove politics from the road funding process.

First, the 36th District has more users of the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) than any other district in Virginia.  The funding analysis recommended $92 million of funding to help capacity improvements for VRE.  VRE already takes one lane’s worth of cars off I-95 and improving VRE is critical to reducing congestion on I-95.

However, Fairfax County submitted two applications for the widening of U.S.1 and the construction of bus rapid transit.  Fairfax County’s applications were ranked 40 and 41st out of 60 in Northern Virginia and were not recommended for funding although two other projects in western Fairfax County were recommended for $100 million of funding.  Myself, Senator Ebbin, and Delegates Krizek and Sickles have already met with the Department of Transportation to examine how to improve our application when funding is re-examined in two years.

Also, all of Prince William County’s applications for U.S. 1 funding were ranked poorly and not recommended for funding.  I will be setting up meetings with my Prince William colleagues to improve those applications. 

This week, I have several bills up in committee to improve cycling safety.  Also, my bill to require thirty-days notice before any university can increase tuition will be considered.  Tuition costs have skyrocketed and the public deserves more notice and input before tuition is increased.

If you would like more information regarding my legislation, please go to my online newsletter (scottsurovell.blogspot.com), my website (www.scottsurovell.org), “like” me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/surovell) or send me an email at scott@scottsurovell.org.  It is an honor to serve as your state senator.  

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