Sunday, August 5, 2012
Surveys can influence the decision-making process by unveiling public opinion on key issues.
Of all the numbers that emerged from Loudoun County’s recent survey of residents, one loomed larger than all the others – 78. That is the percentage of residents who said it was important for the county to focus on providing rail transit service in the next few years. This surprisingly high percentage may have been a game-changer in the recent debate leading up to the Board of Supervisors’ narrow approval of the Metrorail extension into Loudoun County. Last week I gave some background on the history of the county’s public opinion survey. From 1995 to 2007, the county conducted a biennial survey that gathered demographic information in addition to the opinions of a random sample of 1,000 Loudoun residents. Funding for the survey was cut …
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Board of Supervisors is sending a surprising message to the business community.
Early in its term, it looked like the all-Republican Loudoun County Board of Supervisors was trying to define itself as the business-friendly board. It seemed to be intentionally sending a message to the business community: “We are on your side.” Just a month after taking office, the board directed county staff to stop work on developing green building standards and a Comprehensive Plan amendment on energy efficiency. It also stopped work on a zoning ordinance amendment that would have allowed dog parks in certain areas. “I want to prioritize those items that are going to give us more bang for the buck economic development-wise and things like that,” Algonkian District Supervisor Suzanne Volpe said, as reported in Leesburg Today. “For me I…
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Columnist Jim Barnes explains his bias in favor of rail.
I will confess to having a bias in favor of rail. But my bias is not based on a political point of view, as some have charged in comments responding to my past columns on the subject of Metrorail to Loudoun. I do like trains. Some of my favorite trips have been by rail. I may even have a genetic predisposition in that regard. Both my father and grandfather worked for the railroad for their entire careers, as did several other relatives. But my bias on the issue of Metrorail to Loudoun is based more on my personal experience, having spent most of my life living in three metropolitan areas with the some of the worst traffic congestion in the United States – Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Chicago, where I grew up, has extensive …
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Five supervisors will decide the fate of Metrorail to Loudoun.
In my first column about the Metrorail to Loudoun project, I listed ten reasons why I thought the Silver Line would ultimately be extended into Loudoun County. It was partly a prediction, and partly an argument in favor of the project. Eleven months later, the fate of the rail project remains undetermined. While I still think a majority of the Board of Supervisors will vote in favor of the project, it is hard to see where the necessary five votes will come from. Chairman Scott York and supervisors Ralph Buona and Shawn Williams have been vocal advocates for the project. It appears likely that Dulles District Supervisor Matt Letourneau will also get on board. But that fifth vote is proving to be elusive. I have spoken with several people …
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Some Leesburg voters may be having buyer’s remorse since Reid came out against Metrorail to Loudoun.
I can’t help but wonder if some pro-business Leesburg residents who voted for Republican Ken Reid last November are now experiencing buyer’s remorse, since Reid has emerged as an opponent of the extension of Dulles Metrorail into Loudoun County. I’m not surprised that Reid is against the project. He made his name in Loudoun County as a populist advocate for cars and drivers. He has favored new and improved roads and bus rapid transit. Rail was never among his priorities. Reid’s opponent, Democratic incumbent Kelly Burk, on the other hand, was a strong supporter of the Metrorail project, which may be the most important economic development project to come to Loudoun County since Dulles Airport opened 50 years ago. The Loudoun County Chamber…
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Transportation improvement projects, including the Dulles Metrorail Project, are making area commutes longer.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The Washington, D.C. region has the worst overall commute in the country, according to WTOP. The station reports that the Transportation Planning Board and Census Bureau have ranked the commute to and from work in the region as the worst. Current transportation improvement projects are only adding to the long commutes. John Townsend of AAA says depending on traffic the projects add five to 15 minutes to drivers’ commutes, including the Dulles Metrorail Project and HOT lanes projects. "They will (help congestion) eventually," he said to WTOP. "The fact of the matter is there are so many projects going on at the same time, and there are projects going on at night.” This results in round-the-clock traffic. Visit WTOP for to read the full …
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Columnist looks at some of the top issues of the past year.
This is my 53rdInside Out column for Leesburg Patch, which means that this column is now one year old. And what a year it has been! The biggest story in local politics was the Republican near-sweep last November, when Republicans won all nine seats on the Board of Supervisors, all the constitutional offices, and all but two General Assembly races in Loudoun County. In my very first column, I wrote about board chairman Scott York’s decision to run for re-election as a Republican, which I characterized as a curve-ball. It was the first of several strategic moves by York that set the stage for the GOP sweep and began shaping the dynamic that is still evolving among the all-Republican board. I questioned York’s strategy during the course of …
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Leesburg Town Council could vote on resolution supporting Metrorail project Tuesday night.
Following Monday night's work session, the Town Council decided to hold off on any discussion regarding Metrorail into Loudoun County. The item was removed from Tuesday night's agenda at the request of Council Member Terry Titus due to lack of details. The debate over the merits of extending Metrorail into Loudoun County shifted to the Town of Leesburg Monday night as the Town Council discussed a proposed resolution that would express the town’s support for the rail project. During the council’s work session, members generally expressed support for the project, although several members said they would like to receive more information before voting on the resolution. “My concern here is that we express our desire to have the Metro [extended…