Delegate Ken Plum’s Virginia E-News – January 3, 2007
The Decision to Move Forward
Kenneth R. “Ken” Plum
I may be facing an important decision in the next few months as my car will have taken me over 200,000 miles by that time. That’s a lot of mileage. Despite the missing door molding on one side, the car has been very dependable and extremely comfortable. I have gotten attached to the car as I do to most of my cars, but I have to recognize that it will not run forever.
My next car is likely to be a Prius as our second car is now. I cannot rationalize why I should buy a car that is not that environmentally friendly. Flashy designs, luxurious surroundings, and extra power tempt me as they do everyone, but in the end I will feel better knowing that I am using less fuel and emitting few pollutants with my car. I will look at the other hybrids like the new Toyota Camry as well.
I know that soon after I make the decision and purchase a car there is likely to be another breakthrough in technology that will produce a car even more environmentally friendly. I will wish that I had the new model, but necessity dictates that I am not going to be able to wait for the next change in technology.
That brings me to another subject that has been in the news lately. As many people realize, I have been working for more than a decade to make rail transit in the Dulles Corridor a reality. I organized and still chair the Dulles Corridor Rail Association, the chief advocacy group for the project. After years of completing the required federal environmental impact studies, after getting agreement among all the local governments and affected governmental units, and after lining up a financial plan that includes a $900 million federal match, the project finally will break ground for construction this year.
Some who are looking at the project now are saying that there is a better way. New technology may bring the cost of tunneling under Tysons Corner to an acceptable range. They seem willing to put the hard to come by federal funding at risk and to cause a potential delay of years for additional environmental studies to consider another way to build the project. Governor Kaine took a couple of months to consider a tunnel alternative, had a panel of experts study the options, and after consultation with the Federal Transit Administration decided that the risks to funding the project were too great.
I need to make a decision on a new car. As soon as I make the decision it is likely that another model will catch my attention or another innovation will intrigue me. But I am not going to be able to wait. I need dependable transportation now. The Dulles Corridor needs rail transit now, not later. We cannot put nearly a billion dollars of federal funding at risk. Adding years to the schedule with additional environmental studies is unacceptable.
I will be in Richmond for the 2007 General Assembly session beginning on January 10. You may still call me on my local legislative line at 703.758.9733, and your call will be forwarded to my Richmond office without additional charge to you, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Delegate Ken Plum’s Weekly “Virginia Report”
on Reston Comcast Channel 28
Tonight - Wednesday, January 3 at 10:30 p.m. – Mr. Mike Rolband and Ms. Jennifer Brophy-Price of Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. – “Ensuring an Environmentally and Economically Healthy Virginia”
Please note that “Virginia Report” will resume its weekly schedule in March after the 2007 session of the General Assembly adjourns. Check this section for dates and times for occasional “Special Reports” from Richmond that will be aired between now and March 1.
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The money committees of the General Assembly will hold Public Hearings around the state tomorrow, January 4, at noon to receive comments on the Governor’s proposed Amendments to the 2006-2008 Budget. The Public Hearing in our area will be held at Northern Virginia Community College’s Loudoun County Campus in the Waddell Theater. The Loudoun Campus is located on Route 7 across from the Potomac Run Shopping Center. Those persons wishing to speak may register at the hearing site no earlier than one hour prior to the start of the hearing. Speakers will be taken in the order of registration. Each person may register only one speaker at a time. Speakers are asked to limit their comments to three minutes or less. Speakers representing groups and organizations should consolidate remarks to reduce duplication.
The Reston Association wants all Owlers and Birders to know that there will be an “Owl Prowl” at 4:45 a.m. on Saturday, January 6. Meet at the Central Services Facility (CSF) at 12250 Sunset Hills Road (next door to the YMCA) and proceed to prowl for Eastern Screech owls. After checking Twin Branches Nature Trail they will move on to other locations, returning to the CSF lobby for the annual “Bird Count” at 7:00 a.m. Meet Doug Guey-Lee, the newest addition to the team who is the Environmental Resource Specialist. Bring binoculars if you have them; extras can be borrowed. RSVP by emailing Habrock@reston.org. When checking in, they ask that you complete all the pertinent information on the sign-in sheet at check-in at CSF so you can receive the data collected from the counts.
Members of the Virginia General Assembly who represent House and Senate districts in Fairfax County will hold their annual Public Hearing this Saturday, January 6, starting at 9:00 a.m. in the Board Room of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax. Speakers can sign up in advance by calling the Clerk to the Board at 703.324.3151. As your member of the House of Delegates representing the greater Reston area, Delegate Plum will be at the Public Hearing to receive testimony from you and others about issues that are of concern or interest to the citizens of Fairfax County. (Also plan to attend the Public Hearing hosted by Delegate Plum and Senator Janet Howell on Thursday, January 4, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods. All are welcome; pre-registration is not required.)
The Volunteer Learning Program sponsored by Fairfax County Public Schools Office of Adult & Community Education, Fairfax County Juvenile Court, and the Fairfax County Public Library System is a tutorial program designed to meet the needs of Fairfax County adults who desire to improve their reading, writing, and mathematics skills and/or obtain their high school credentials. If you would like to be a tutor or work with a tutor, daytime, evening, and weekend tutoring opportunities are available at adult education learning centers as well as at local libraries. For more information contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 703.246.2139 or email VLP@fcps.edu.
ASTRACOR, the Asociacion de Trabajadores de Construccion Residencial (Residential Construction Workers’ Association) is forming training and certification classes now for January, February, and March. Training and Certification programs will be offered FREE OF CHARGE to residential construction workers interested in improving their skills or earning a basic certification. As part of this project limited income seniors, families, churches, and social service organizations in need of free repairs of homes and facilities are invited to contact ASTRACOR to be considered for hosting an ASTRACOR class. Call 703.212.8294 for more information.
Take local action to protect our water by attending the Water Stewardship Team Leader Training on Sunday, January 21, 2007, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center, 5700 Sanger Avenue, Alexandria. Learn to build community and discover ways to create a water-friendly lifestyle. Call 703.324.5500 or email email@example.com to receive more information or an application.
Attend Nanotechnology Day at the Virginia General Assembly on January 24, 2007. Delegate Ken Plum and the other legislative members of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science invite all Virginia businesses, universities, and government agencies to Richmond to share their experiences with the General Assembly. The Conference Room on the 5th Floor (West) of the General Assembly Building will be available for small displays (tripod/easel) before and after the day’s session. Space will be reserved on a first-com, first-served basis. Space is also reserved in the first floor lobby area of the General Assembly Building for members of the Nanotechnology Advisory Committees. This area will serve as an “information booth” for anyone interested in learning more about JCOTS and the Nanotechnology Advisory Committees. The Virginia Technology Alliance Reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. that evening at the Library of Virginia, 9th & Broad Streets, Richmond. For more information please contact Lisa Friedersdorf at LisaF@virginia.edu or Patrick Cushing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nominations for the Governor’s Volunteerism & Community Services Awards are now being accepted. The prestigious award has been honoring exemplary Virginians for more than 16 years and recognizes excellence in community service and volunteering. A narrative and two letters of support are required. Visit www.vaservice.org to download the nomination form or submit an online nomination through the website. The nomination process ends at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31, 2007.
The new State Bicycling Map is now available. To order a map, visit www.bikewalkvirginia.org. The new map can be your gateway to a world of new experiences including U.S. Bicycle Routes 1 and 76, the Virginia Capital Trail connecting Williamsburg and Richmond, and numerous locations for off-road mountain bike rides. Whether you are an experienced bicyclist, a beginner, or a family with young children, this map is a must-have.
The Thirteenth Annual Virginia Festival of the Book will be held in Charlottesville March 22-25, 2007. Mostly free literary events will include readings, panels, and discussions with authors, illustrators, and publishing professionals. For more information visit www.vabook.org.
Authorized and paid for by Kenneth R. Plum.
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