7 more groups endorse roads plan
The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors and the Apartment & Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington have endorsed Gov. Bob McDonnell’s plan for funding more than $4 billion in road, rail and other transportation projects across the state.
The groups were among seven business and transportation associations that announced their support for the plan last week. The other organizations were the Virginia Auto Dealers Association, AAA Mid-Atlantic, Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals, Retail Alliance and Virginia Business Council.
Earlier, 36 organizations had endorsed McDonnell’s plan.
The Republican governor’s proposal would require the state to borrow money to fund the transportation projects. Critics, notably Democrats, say they oppose the plan in part because they don’t want Virginia to go into debt.
Mary Beth Coya, senior vice president for public and government affairs for the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, said that the group has long been an advocate for more funding for transportation and that this is an initial step.
“Our members, the home buyers and the selling public that we serve spend too many valuable hours stuck in traffic. This is time that could be spent with our families or being more productive in our jobs,” Coya said.
The governor said his proposal would help Northern Virginia and other regions by speeding up road construction, providing employment, easing congestion and boosting economic development.
The proposal includes an employee tax credit for telecommuting and a tax incentive for companies that use water and rail, instead of trucks, to ship cargo.
McDonnell’s transportation plan would fund nearly 900 projects statewide. The plan would be funded by about $3 billion in bonds. Also, a 0.25 percent sales tax in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads would be used for projects in those areas.
Democrats fear that diverting sales tax revenues to transportation will take money away from education and public safety. House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong, D-Martinsville, also said the governor’s bond proposal would “run up massive amounts of debt.”
However, Coya said low interest rates make this a favorable time to sell bonds.
“We expect to see proposals in the near future for new funding sources that will address the magnitude of our transportation problem without harming the resources we need for education and other key government services,” Coya said.
On June 13, the Short Pump Rotary Club partnered with Schnabel Engineering for a day of volunteer work with Rebuilding Together Richmond. Team members (among them [from left] Chris Rufe, Melissa Abraham, Rick Naschold, and Micky Ogburn) completed a variety of repairs and home improvements ranging from painting and landscaping to cabinet installation and fence building.
“It was a privilege to be involved in this project," said club president Melissa Abraham. "The homeowner kept thanking the volunteers, but I think all of us would agree we are the ones who actually benefited. It was an opportunity to help a community member, fellowship with great people and improve our handyman skills." > Read more.
Dr. Even Alexander, a New York Times best-selling author who has been featured on Oprah and Dr. Oz, was in town last week to promote his June 27 talk, "Proof of Heaven," at Glen Allen High School.
Alexander (pictured, at right, while Unity of Bon Air church member Harry Simmons interviews him) has written about what he considers to be his journey through the afterlife.
Tickets to this month's event are $25 and will support the new Bon Secours Hospice House being built later this year. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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