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The Right Note: Transportation Priorities?

Mark KellyThe 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.

In 2009, the Arlington County Board filed a lawsuit to stop the Kaine Administration’s efforts to bring 395 HOT lanes through the county. This surprised state officials as for some time, County leaders had offered support for the idea.

The suit cost county taxpayers around $2 million in legal fees. It also embarrassingly named state employees, sued as individuals not in their official capacities, as parties to the case.

County leaders claimed victory when the lawsuit ultimately resulted in Virginia dropping the plan to create the lanes in the original build out of the tolled lanes in 2011.

Fast forward nearly six years to this week when it was announced that those lanes would now open in the fall of 2019. The new plan creates no interchanges that would allow Arlingtonians to have better access to the lanes. This was a concession to the biggest complaints about the plan which came from individuals in the Shirlington area who worried that a good deal of extra traffic would exit there under the initial proposal.

Arlingtonians should be concerned about traffic coming onto surface streets as the County continues to take travel lanes away and narrow critical corridors which unnecessarily causes increased traffic congestion.

Speaking of moving people through Arlington, this past week Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz proposed a budget that would result in a tax increase of approximately 5 percent for single family homeowners 2017.

Schwartz said 1 percent of the increase would be dedicated to increasing Arlington’s share of ongoing funding for Metro. Under the proposal, Arlington taxpayers would add a $6 million net contribution to WMATA’s ongoing operations.

In addition to the ongoing contributions to Metro, the County intends to issue $22 million in new bonds for the failing system. The debt service on these bonds would cost taxpayers $1.5 million in the next fiscal year.

The bonding authority is left over from 2014, so it would not be a question for voters this year. It should voters ask more questions about just how badly the County needs bonds the Board asks you to vote on in the future.

Metro may need extra funding to get back on its feet, and there is no question Arlingtonians are willing to do their share. Until the agency makes transformational reforms, including getting out from under the thumb of the Amalgamated Transit Union, however, Arlington should be skeptical of agreeing to new financial contributions.

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Lyon Park & Ashton Heights’ biennial home & garden biennial tour is back. The tour will include contemporary custom homes, older historic bungalows as well as renovated properties. One of the stunning homes on the tour is pictured above.  In addition to beautiful & unique homes, the Villa & Vistas ’22 event will conclude with a festive reception at the Lyon Park Community Center at 414 N Fillmore Street, Arlington VA 22201. What could be better right?

All proceeds from this event will go to the Lyon Park Citizens Association (LPCA) towards our neighborhood jewel & hub, the Lyon Park Community Center (LPCC).

When: Sunday, October 2nd, Noon – 4 PM. 

Where: Meet to get your tickets and the tour map at the Lyon Park Community Center (414 N Fillmore Street) We will have a table with information outside.

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Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved

Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved. Join ACFCU for our Homebuying

Pink Carpet Event Charity Fashion Show

The Pink Carpet Event Charity Fashion Show will feature our fabulous breast cancer survivors slaying the runway! Designers from Baltimore and the Washington, DC Metropolitan area will bring exquisite fashion and glamour to this event. Professional male and female designs

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