The public is the driving interest on I-66 project

Interstate 66 outside the Beltway needs to be fixed. At rush hour, it can seem like a parking lot. It’s clear something has to be done.

The $2 billion to $3 billion project must put taxpayers first in determining what will be the best deal.

It has been long assumed the private sector is more effective than government when it comes to delivering large transportation projects. That may be true in some cases, but not necessarily in all. When hundreds of millions of tax dollars are at stake, we must make sure the taxpayers’ best interests are protected.

Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne recently hired a consulting team to work with the commonwealth for an “apples-to-apples” comparison of the numbers. That baseline analysis shows that the commonwealth could finance the project, saving up to $600 million and providing up to $500 million in excess revenue when compared with typical public-private partnerships and concession terms previously negotiated by the state on several large projects. That said, Transurban has done an excellent job of building and maintaining the high-occupancy toll lanes on Interstate 495 and Interstate 95.

If the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority finances the I-66 project, any excess revenue should stay in Northern Virginia. The transportation authority should insist on this in writing. Layne said that he supports keeping any excess revenue in our region and that the state will shoulder the revenue risk.

Further, the existing lanes on the I-66 project should remain free for public use. It is critical that the final design cause the least amount of disruption to the community.

The possibility of the state completing the project has stirred the pot. Several private-sector entities have responded to the challenge and are working to offer a better deal for the public. The state has released draft business terms for the private sector, including that a private company, if chosen, limit the public contribution to no more than $600 million. The private entity must pay for transit services as well as park-and-ride lots. The terms will not preclude Metro expansion.

The commonwealth’s new law, which I supported, reforms the public-private partnership process to make it more transparent and accountable to taxpayers. The public’s negotiating power has been significantly strengthened so that taxpayers get the best deal, whether it is publicly or privately financed, for a project that is desperately needed.

Click here to visit the Washington Post website.


Springfield, VA — Today, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia announced that they have endorsed Senator Dick Saslaw in his campaign for re-election. Saslaw serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and has a consistent record of supporting women’s health. The Senator has worked with his colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, to defeat measures that would undermine a woman’s right to control her own medical decisions. After examining Senator Saslaw’s 2015 voting record, NARAL Virginia has rated him as 100% pro-choice.

"Voters in the 35th district are incredibly lucky to have Dick Saslaw as their 100% pro-choice Senator," said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. "Throughout his years of leadership in the Virginia Senate, Saslaw has proven time and again that he will stand up for women's health and rights, and he can be counted on to keep government out of Virginians personal, private medical decisions. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is proud to endorse Dick Saslaw for reelection, and we look forward to working closely with him in the years to come.”

Springfield, VA — State Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax)  issued the following statement following the Supreme Court’s ruling that will guarantee marriage equality for all Americans :

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a major victory for the LGBT community and a historic leap forward for the United States. I applaud the Supreme Court for ruling on the side of equality. Discrimination against same-sex couples is no longer acceptable. We must keep working to ensure that all are welcome in Virginia and build on the significant progress we have made over the years.”

Springfield, VA – State Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax)  issued the following statement in light of Governor McAuliffe’s announcement to begin the process of removing the Confederate flag from Virginia license plates:


“I applaud Governor McAuliffe for taking action  to remove the Confederate Flag from license plates in the Commonwealth. This divisive symbol does not belong on our roadways or public spaces. I believe this action helps send a clear message that Virginia does not support the bleak period of our nation’s history that it represents. Our Commonwealth must be a welcoming place to all people and shedding this symbol is a step toward achieving that objective.”



The month of June brings the beginning of summer, graduations, Father’s Day and this year The World Police and Fire Games. Fairfax County is host to these international competitors who will visit our region at the end of the month. You can participate as an observer or consider volunteering. For more information see

Virginia Marketplace

Since being implemented, many Virginians have signed up for healthcare under marketplace exchanges. Currently, consumers can choose from an average of 23 plans offered by multiple insurance companies. You may have heard that there will be an upcoming Health Insurance Marketplace rate review. Under the Affordable Care Act, tax credits were made available to keep coverage costs down. In Virginia, 83 percent of marketplace enrollees received a premium tax credit. In 2015, the average premium paid by marketplace consumers was $89, saving an average of $259 as as direct result of the tax credit. More than 385,000 people signed up for coverage through the Marketplace in Virginia.

The major insurers in Virginia are proposing either modest premium increases or no increase at all. This is good news for Virginia consumers. There will be a public comment period and citizens will have the opportunity to weigh in on any proposed increase of 10 percent or more.

I-66 Transformation Project

Many Northern Virginians have been keeping a close eye on the I-66 transformation proposal. It would reshape 25 miles of I-66 from U.S. Route 15 in Haymarket to I-495/Capital Beltway into a multimodal corridor that moves drivers and people more efficiently. It would add three regular lanes in each direction, two express lanes in each direction, and a high-frequency bus service. Last month, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) released the results of the Commonwealth’s analysis of procurement options for the I-66 project. The report found that publicly financing the project may save taxpayers between $300 million and $600 million. Over time, it would also provide for up to $500 million in revenue to be used on other transportation projects in Northern Virginia.

It is currently estimated the total cost of this important project will come in at around $2.1 billion. VDOT analyzed the benefits of using public financing versus using a public private partnership (P3) as well as the long-term fiscal impact. I want to make sure that we are using taxpayer dollars wisely and ensure Virginia will see revenues from this project. Assuming the math is correct, I prefer to see VDOT take the lead on the project. Much has been written about the Rt 460 Public-Private Partnership. Some $250 Million of taxpayer funds were put into that project before a shovel of dirt was dug. We don’t need or want a repeat like this misappropriation. The transmodal project still has a long way to go. Stay tuned.

Vote on June 9 For Penny Gross

I hope you will join me in voting for Supervisor Penny Gross in the Democratic Primary on June 9. Penny has been a champion for our region and has fought hard to improve the quality of life for all of her constituents. She has worked tirelessly on the issues for improving transportation infrastructure, building new public schools, and spurring economic growth. Penny has my full support and it is critical we keep her on the job.

For information about how to vote in the June 9 primary, please visit

July 1 marks the beginning of the fiscal year in Virginia and the enactment date for hundreds of new laws. You will be hearing about some of the new laws in the near future. To all of our graduates, I send my best wishes in their future endeavors.



Springfield, VA — Today, the Saslaw for State Senate campaign announced that the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce's PAC (NOVABizPAC) has endorsed Senator Saslaw. The NOVABizPAC’s board is made up of business leaders from across Northern Virginia, representing a wide range of industries.

“Because of Dick Saslaw's leadership in the Senate, Virginia is a great place to start or grow a  business,” said NOVABizPAC Chair Scott McGeary. “He understands what it takes to diversify our economy and create a strong business climate. The Virginia business community is supporting Senator Saslaw because of his commitment to cultivating a highly skilled workforce, updating our infrastructure, and building a brighter future for all Virginians.”

Senator Saslaw is a successful local businessman in the gasoline and auto service industry. He has led the charge in the state Senate to make Virginia a top business destination. Dick Saslaw has partnered with Governor McAuliffe in an effort to build a new Virginia economy that will create jobs and expand opportunity for Virginia workers.

“It means a lot to have such strong support from the business community,” said Sen. Dick Saslaw, the Democratic Leader in the Virginia Senate. “I will continue fighting to make sure that Virginia remains one of the best states to do business in, and that Virginia families have every opportunity to get ahead. I look forward to working with business leaders across Virginia to create new jobs and establish an economy that generates long-term growth.” 

SALES TAX HOLIDAY: Hurricane season is right around the corner, as well as the severe storms we may encounter in the months ahead. Starting next week, you can make tax-free purchases on emergency supplies and equipment. The Virginia sales tax holiday for hurricane and emergency preparedness equipment will be held on May 25—31, 2015.


Click here to see a list of items exempt from taxes.


You can learn more about preparing for hurricane and flash flooding season by visiting the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website here. Do not wait until a storm is closing in on our region to make a plan and get supplies.



HOLIDAY TRAVEL: We can expect the normal influx of traffic and delays this holiday weekend in our area. If you plan to utilize the 95 Express Lanes on your travels please be aware that there will be several on-road signs to alert drivers of delays, below is a rundown of what you can expect when you head south on 95:


  • Express Lanes travelers will see an advisory sign in advance of the Quantico/Joplin Road exit, which alerts drivers of congestion ahead on the Lanes.  The sign will indicate approximately how far ahead the delays begin, for example “CONGESTION 3 MILES AHEAD”


  • Drivers can use the information on the sign to decide whether to exit the Lanes at Joplin or continue to Garrisonville Road


  • If delays increase, signage before the Joplin Road exit  will advise travelers to exit to the regular lanes using the message “EXIT NOW TO AVOID DELAYS”  

You can learn more about using the Express Lanes this weekend by clicking here. Enjoy the holiday weekend and please stay safe on the roads.


Senator Dick Saslaw

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will be bringing one of its mobile customer service centers to our area. The DMV 2 GO initiative is a great way for Virginians to take care of any DMV business and for the DMV to better serve customers.


Each mobile-office location will be ready in a convenient location to process any DMV transactions you may have. I wanted to let you know that DMV 2 GO will be in Northern Virginia to serve citizens at the following locations:


Friday, May 8th -- Falls Church City

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

300 Park Avenue, Falls Church, VA  22046


Saturday, May 9th -- Fairfax County

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mason District Park

6621 Columbia Pike, Annandale, 22003


Monday, May 11th -- City of Alexandria

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.    

301 King Street, Alexandria, VA  22314


You can learn more about DMV 2 Go by following this link.



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