The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
Here we go again.
A few days ago, County Board Chair Mary Hynes wrote a letter to the Virginia Department of Transportation sounding an optimistic tone on the opportunity to work on HOT lanes inside the beltway on 395. Those lanes were part of the original HOT lanes project proposal in the region, dating back to Democrat administrations of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine in Virginia.
In 2006, then County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman sent a similar letter to VDOT outlining what sounded like Arlington’s conditional support for HOT lanes on 395. In the letter, he even described the need for a HOT lanes exit at Shirlington — an exit he later vehemently opposed.
The Board seemed to sour on the idea of HOT lanes in general as time moved on. By 2010, the County Board had sued everyone they could think of to stop the HOT lanes from happening. They even sued individual civil servants, requiring them to hire lawyers to defend against the claims. The addition of individuals to the suit drew some of the harshest criticism for it.
Eventually, an exasperated VDOT announced they were abandoning plans for the project inside the beltway. But, Arlington taxpayers paid around $2 million for outside counsel to file and pursue lawsuit before the County Board dropped it.
If you work at VDOT, you may be feeling like Charlie Brown staring at the football in Lucy’s hands wondering if it will be pulled away just as you start to kick it. You may also be wondering if you may some day be a defendant in a lawsuit.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue of adding a lane in each direction, you have to wonder what path the Board is really heading down now. Is the Board actually serious about finding a way to add this lane of traffic? Are some of the demands in the letter actually impossible for VDOT to meet?
What are the chances the Board, with two new members about to join, balk again later in the process? And would the Board spend $2 million or more to sue again if they didn’t like what Governor McAuliffe’s administration decided?
Only time will tell. At the very least, let’s hope they can work it out without handing taxpayers another $2 million legal bill.
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Arlington and its neighbors have become more segregated in the last 10 years while fair housing legislation at the state level faces significant roadblocks. Arlington’s fair housing enforcement, education, and commitment to equity practices in housing policy and programs are beginning to show signs of improvement but much more needs to be done.
Join the NAACP Arlington Branch, HOME of Virginia, and Equal Rights Center for the 2nd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference on April 15th to discuss the threats and opportunities to advancing fair housing policy across the state and within Arlington.
The half-day, in-person event will feature speakers from fair housing advocacy organizations and government agencies including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and focus on fair housing policy trends in Virginia and Arlington County. The conference aims to advance the understanding of issues and policies related to equity and affirmatively further fair housing among local officials, advocates, and members of the public.
2nd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference
Is home ownership a goal of yours in 2023? Now is the time to make it happen! Grab a (virtual) drink with the area’s top Real Estate experts, learn all about the home buying process and on how you can get $1,500 towards your closing costs immediately!
Did you know the average Arlington renter will spend $150K in 5 years of renting? Stop paying down someone else’s mortgage! Join us for a Rent vs. Buy Happy Hour on Wednesday, April 5th at 6 p.m. via Zoom. If this time doesn’t work, we also are offering times convenient for your schedule!
A lot has happened in the local market since the beginning of the pandemic. Sip on your drink of choice and learn from Northern Virginia, Arlington and Washingtonian Magazines top producing agents! We will discuss the latest market updates, the home buying process and rent vs. buy cost savings. Please RSVP by clicking here.
Call/text Manavi at 703-869-6698 with any questions!
Private School Fair
Congressional School to Host MONA Private School Fair Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 PM
Congressional School in Falls Church, VA is delighted to host the MONA (Mothers of North Arlington) at an upcoming Private School Fair. Private schools from around
WHS Spring Festival
Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!
Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and