What's Hot

The 95 Express Lanes between Stafford County and Fairfax County are opening Sunday, December 14th.

From Dec 15th to Dec 28th there will be no tolls to drive in the express lanes however current HOV rules will continue to be in effect during rush hour until tolling commences. Tolling will begin on Monday, December 29th and all drivers will need an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex to use the express lanes 24/7.

The I-95 Express Lanes bring a new kind of travel to the I-95 corridor, aimed to provide drivers and transit users with easier, more predictable trips along the 29-mile corridor. Click here to learn more about the new Express Lanes including access points and new signage.

If you don't carpool on I-95, you will need a standard E-ZPass which will allow you to pay a toll to travel on the Express Lanes any time of day. Your existing E-ZPass will work. Carpool, slug or travel frequently with three or more people in the vehicle? You'll travel on the Express Lanes for free with an E-ZPass Flex set in HOV mode.

E-ZPass and E-ZPass Flex are available online, by calling Virginia E-ZPass at (877)762-7824 and at a number of retail locations. For more information on 95 Express Lanes and E-ZPass, visit 95ExpressLanes.com.

Get Ready for a Faster, More Reliable Travel Option

The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance is the only organization focused solely on making better transportation a reality for Northern Virginia citizens and businesses.

Contact Info:
The Alliance Alert is a free online update on regional transportation issues and public involvement opportunities provided by the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance. For more information on regional transportation issues and NVTA, please visit our website at www.nvta.org.

Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance
P.O. Box 6149
McLean, Virginia 22106-6149
Tel: 703-883-1830
Fax: 703-883-1850
Email: info@nvta.org

The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce has envisioned biosciences as one of our area’sI biggest new industries and staged its Innovate Conference at CIT this November to exploring the many innovations coming forward in the field of healthcare. Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, it explored topics ranging from computational biology and panomics to telemedicine, innovations coming forward around major diseases and new aides that will help us age differently.

For Immediate Release
December 4, 20114

Governor McAuliffe Announces
New Virginia Economy Bioscience Initiative

Kicks off roundtable on commercialization of university
bioscience research with special guest, MIT Professor Robert Langer

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced a Virginia Bioscience Initiative, kicking off the effort with a public and private sector roundtable discussion on the commercialization of university bioscience research at the State Capitol. University representatives and bio industry leaders joined the Governor, members of his administration and renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Dr. Robert S. Langer for this discussion.

Speaking at today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe stated, “The bioscience industry in Virginia is strong, and can be even stronger with this focused initiative. Our charge today is to use the Commonwealth’s extensive assets, including our excellent research universities and world class businesses, to catalyze the growth of this strategic sector and the new Virginia economy.”

Governor McAuliffe’s initiative will be a collaborative, multi-year effort involving several secretariats, state agencies, higher education, private sector research enterprises and businesses throughout the Commonwealth. Today’s announcement is the first step in this journey to build strategic momentum in this critical sector. Initial focus areas include elevating the profile of the Virginia bioscience industry, enhancing incentives for bioscience businesses, leveraging existing assets into new opportunities, assuring an outstanding bioscience workforce, and promoting commercialization of university research.

The Governor’s Bioscience Initiative will focus on six core goals:

  1. Elevate the profile of the industry within and outside the state, communicate the state’s focused commitment, and challenge the industry to reach its potential.
  2. Expand on strategies that support entrepreneurship, innovation, collaboration, and business development, and prioritize funding of commercialization programs.
  3. Capitalize on our strengths to leverage extramural funding, launch new businesses, recruit investment, and create high paying jobs by focusing on areas of competitive research and industry advantage and creating synergies with Virginia’s world class IT sector through big data.
  4. Establish a Virginia Ag Bio Initiative with a Virginia Ag Bio Advisory Committee to harness and grow industries that utilize bioscience for producing food and fuel.
  5. Identify workforce development initiatives that align with Virginia bioscience industry needs.
  6. Lead the nation in the ease of commercializing translational research from public universities and getting innovation to the patient’s bedside faster.

Virginia enjoys a diverse and highly educated, technical workforce, a strong private investment community, strong research universities, an entrepreneurial and business friendly environment, and proximity to both the nation’s capital and key resources, all of which will allow the bioscience industry in the Commonwealth to become a leading pillar of the new Virginia economy. Further, fifty percent of all research done by Virginia universities is in the biosciences. Virginia has tremendous resources in its research universities, including extraordinary research which can spark and sustain bioscience economic activity, but the interface between universities and industries will garner more attention and improvement from this statewide effort.

Professor Langer, who serves as the distinguished David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, said today, “I applaud Governor McAuliffe for recognizing the importance of the bioscience field to the economic future of Virginia. Many researchers, entrepreneurs and policy makers have worked hard to put Virginia in the strong position it is in today. Innovative and important research is being conducted and commercialized all over the state and the potential is there for Virginia to become even more of a leader in this industry.”

According to a 2014 Battelle Bio study, Virginia’s biotechnology industry is thriving, with more than 26,500 industry jobs that spanned 1,451 business establishments in 2012. The same study shows Virginia enjoyed double-digit employment gains from 2007 – 2012 in the agricultural feedstock and chemicals subsector, which involves industries that utilize biochemistry and biotechnology for producing everything from food to fuel. Building on these strengths with cutting edge research at our universities, including land-grant universities and the statewide agricultural extension network, presents an opportunity for Virginia to continue growth in this sector. Therefore, part of today’s announcement also includes the commencement of a Virginia Agriculture Biotechnology Initiative.

Office of Governor Terence R. McAuliffe
Contact: Brian Coy
Email: Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov

Asif Bhavnagri
Press Special Assistant

Grand Opening of the I-95 Express Lanes! Click here for details on how to be prepared for traveling on the lanes and how to acquire your E-Z Pass transponders.

Overnight Traffic Stops to Begin on I-66
36 Gantries to be Installed from the Beltway to Centreville

Fairfax - Over the next four months, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will stop all lanes of traffic for up to 30 minutes between midnight and 2 a.m. while crews install 36 gantries between the Capital Beltway and Route 29 in Centreville for the I-66 Active Traffic Management system.
Weather permitting; the first closure will be between 12:01 a.m. and 2 a.m., Friday, Nov. 14 on eastbound I-66 at mile marker 53 in Centreville. All eastbound traffic will come to a complete stop for up to 30 minutes.
Crews will install the gantries Sunday through Thursday nights and will focus first between Route 29 in Centreville and Route 50 in Fairfax (mile markers 52 to 58), both east and westbound.
VDOT will keep the public informed on where the stops will occur throughout the installation. In addition, message signs will be posted well in advance of each closure so that motorists can take alternate routes when the lanes are shut down.
There will be no closures on major holidays or during the Thanksgiving travel days, Nov. 26-30.
The first of its kind on the East Coast, the ATM system will give drivers more information on incidents, delays and projected speeds for optimum travel times. The system uses road sensors and monitored traffic cameras to provide up-to-date information on road conditions as displayed on electronic message signs.
When operational in early 2015, the ATM system is expected to provide more reliable travel times, ease congestion during off-peak travel times and reduce delays related to traffic incidents.

VDOT sent this press release to Supervisor Michael R. Frey’s office this week regarding the I-66 Active Traffic Management system.

Content from:
Supervisor Michael R. Frey’s Newsletter
Sully District

Contact Information:
Phone: 703-814-7100
Fax: 703-814-7110
TTY: 711
Email Supervisor Michael R. Frey

For more information from VDOT click here.

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe

Today at a press conference in Richmond, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the savings actions he will execute to eliminate the revenue shortfall in the Virginia budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

Due to revenue collections that came in under the budget projection set in 2013, the Governor asked executive branch agencies to submit budget reduction plans of 5% for Fiscal Year 2015 and 7% for Fiscal Year 2016 in order to close an $882 million budget deficit. Today’s announcement focused on the Governor’s budget reduction strategies for FY2015.  

“Making these budget reductions has been the most difficult experience of my term so far,” said Governor McAuliffe. “In a government as lean and well-run as ours, there are few spending cuts you can make without impacting the lives of Virginians. The goal was to keep lay-offs to a minimum and protect our core services. The budget I present in December will be a sound and balanced approach to navigating the challenges we face and building a foundation for a stronger economic future.”

Below are a copy of the Governor’s prepared remarks.
Governor’s Remarks - Budget Savings Plan Announcement
Good Morning.  Thank you for being with me here today.
Today, I am here to announce my actions on the budget for fiscal year 2015.  After much deliberation, discussions and hard decisions, I am presenting today the approved budget savings plan.  
Before I begin, I want to discuss the process, which is almost as important as the outcome.  
When I came into office in January, I promised to work together with the General Assembly to find common ground on issues of importance to all citizens of the Commonwealth.    From SOL reform to transportation prioritization to job creation, we came together to make Virginia a better place to live, work and prosper.  
Toward the end of the fiscal year, we started to see revenues not meet the forecast set out in 2013, before I took office.  This would create a shortfall for fiscal year 2014.  
I took immediate action.
First, I notified the leadership of the money committees and promised to work with them every step of the way to fill this shortfall.
Second, I directed all agencies to be prudent and curb any excess spending.
The General Assembly created budgetary reserves totaling $846 million in the current Appropriations Act.  In addition, $705 million could be withdrawn from the Revenue Stabilization Fund during the two year period.  These two items provide a “cushion” of $1.55 billion to address the revenue shortfall.    
Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough.  
The total shortfall in the new interim forecast is projected to be $2.4 billion. This means the problem remaining is $882 million. Of this amount, $346 million will have to be found in this fiscal year, while $536 will be needed in fiscal year 2016.  
On August 15th, I asked all agencies to submit budget reduction plans of five percent in fiscal year 2015 and seven percent in fiscal year 2016.  These plans were due on September 19th to my office.  
During this time, I worked closely with the leadership of the General Assembly to set out the parameters for the cuts. The outcome was HB 5010, a supplemental appropriations bill that outlined the process and the amount of cuts from four areas:

  • From executive branch agencies, $92.4 million in FY15 and $100 million in FY16
  • $45 million each year from higher education
  • $30 million each year from local governments
  • $102 million in unobligated balances in FY15 and $262 million in FY16

 In addition, the bill authorized use of the Revenue Stabilization Fund for both fiscal years 2015 and 2016.  
I asked for three things to be a part of HB 5010, and I am glad to see they were all included in that legislation.  
The first request was that there would be no cuts to K-12 education in the first year.  We need to protect our core services including K-12.  All school divisions have already started the school year with a set budget adopted last spring.  
It would be irresponsible to make changes now.
Second, I asked that the money designated for “A Healthy Virginia”, my healthcare access plan, be preserved.  This bill gives me flexibility to utilize the remaining balance in the Health Care Fund to move forward with these much needed initiatives.
Finally, this budget bill allows me to reallocate $5 million for economic development and workforce training - both top priorities of mine.    
Making these decisions today has been an exhaustive process.  We have worked hard over the past few weeks to get to where we are today.  Some initial options were unacceptable, and we had to ask for a different strategy.  
My goal was to keep lay-offs to a minimum and protect our core services.  The 565 lay-offs that will result from these actions comprise just half a percent of our state workforce of 120,000 full time equivalents, both wage and salary. Ninety percent of these lay-offs are from the Department of Corrections alone.  
I have been working with the Department of Human Resource Management and have put a plan in place to give these individuals the resources they need to find future employment.  Had we not prioritized state employee jobs, this situation could have been far worse.  
In addition to our efforts limiting layoffs, these are some of the other themes that define the actions we are announcing today:

  • We are improving business practices and efficiencies
  • We are eliminating unneeded contractors, including outside consultants and attorneys.  
  • We are leaving vacant positions unfilled.  
  • We are using nongeneral fund money instead of general funds when feasible and allowed by law or contract.

Specifically, we are doing the following:
For Department of Corrections, we are closing a correctional facility, a community corrections residential facility, a diversion center and delaying the opening of a women’s correctional facility.   This equates to $4 million in savings for FY 15

  • In the Department of Social Services, we are using one-time child care remaining balance of $2.7 million
  • For state police, we are selling one airplane and only filling 27 out of the 68 vacant trooper positions.  In addition, the state police will find an additional $4 million in operational efficiencies
  • For ABC, we are increasing the product mark-up on distilled spirits resulting in $2.5 million.

On December 17th, I will present to the General Assembly the budget for fiscal year 2016.
We will continue to review the 7% cuts in the second year, and I am not ready to make these decisions at this time.
I have asked my staff to look at alternatives. Let me be clear - everything is on the table.
If we can preserve core services that Virginians need by adjusting fees or eliminating tax preferences, we should. The budget I present in December will be a sound and balanced approach to navigating the challenges we face and building a foundation for a stronger economic future. I have enjoyed a strong working partnership with the leadership of the General Assembly on these issues so far, and I am looking forward to continuing our collaborative work in the 2015 session.
Making these budget reductions has been the most difficult experience of my term so far. In a government as lean and well-run as ours, there are few spending cuts you can make without impacting the lives of Virginians.
While this budget plan represents a sensible approach, I am cautiously optimistic about the fiscal future ahead. Some areas of the economy are recovering slowly while other areas remain stagnant. It is my hope that we have set our revenue estimate low enough that our slow recovery may boost our budget to the point where we could begin to undo some of these cuts and strengthen the investments our economy needs. But until we actually see that happen, we have a responsibility to remain cautious in the face of an uncertain future.
Later today I will meet with the Joint Advisory Board of Economists (JABE) to seek their council.  I will heed their advice as well as the Governor’s Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates when they meet on November 24th.   
While I believe they too will remain cautious, the news has not been all bad. As we announced yesterday, preliminary total revenues for the month of September were up 5.3 percent and through the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 they are up 6.7 percent, ahead of the annual estimate of 2.9 percent.  
This is the first time revenues have increased three months in a row since the second quarter of calendar year 2013.
Payroll withholding came in strong with 8.3 percent for the month due to an additional deposit day.  Sales tax collections are up about 3.5 percent for the month and are up 4.6 percent for the quarter.  This is ahead of the projected growth of 4.4 percent.
Recordation taxes finally had a positive month after falling for 13 straight months.  We saw a 1.9 percent growth in the month of September.
Even though this is positive news, we need to be prudent in the fiscal decisions we make.
As we saw last year, an unexpected revenue decline could be just around the corner. In the midst of uncertainty over sequestration and the federal budget, we have an obligation to prepare Virginia as much as possible for the reduction in federal spending that we know is coming.
The reductions we are announcing today are a short-term response intended to insulate Virginia from the possibility of even further cuts. And in the long-term, as I have said before, we must work together to grow and diversify our state economy so that we are no longer subject to Washington uncertainty.
And so my focus will remain on building a new Virginia economy that is stronger, more independent and more resilient. My administration is hard at work pursuing that goal on all fronts.
We are working to strengthen our education and workforce development system so that we are giving every student the skills he or she needs in a 21st Century economy.
Yesterday, we unveiled the 2014 Virginia Energy Plan, which will help drive our economy into the future by growing key sectors like wind, solar, nuclear technology and natural gas so that we can offer businesses the cheapest, cleanest and most abundant energy in the nation.
We are continuing to grow and strengthen our transportation infrastructure in ways that encourage economic growth and raise Virginia’s quality of life.
Our outstanding quality of life, world class workforce and outstanding infrastructure are real assets.  And so is Virginia’s long-standing reputation for sound management, even in the face of difficult situations.
This budget shortfall is not what I had hoped to be dealing with in my first year as Governor, but I am proud of the manner in which leaders on both sides of the aisle came together to address it.
Thanks to the hard work of Secretary Ric Brown and his team, who worked alongside Chairmen Colgan, Stosch, Jones and their staff, we are meeting these challenges in a way that protects our core assets, minimizes layoffs, and positions our Commonwealth for future growth.
While I know we all hope that the budget news from here forward will be more positive, all Virginians should be encouraged to know that their leaders are capable of coming together to get things done for the good of the Commonwealth.
Thank you. I will now be happy to take a few questions.


Office of the Governor
Contact: Brian Coy
Email: Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov
Phone: 804-225-4260