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Dear Members of the Northern Virginia Congressional Delegation:

On behalf of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce and its 700+ member companies, we urge you and your colleagues in Congress to immediately act and find a course that enacts legislation for continuing funding of the federal government without interruption after September 30th.  Such a shutdown would be incredibly harmful to our region and to businesses across the nation. Congress is meant to support the American people and their commerce, not impede them.

As you know, a large portion of Virginia’s economy is represented by industries tied to the federal government.  It is also home to over 65,000 federal employees.  Together they represent a business community tremendously impacted by federal expenditures.  We are all too cognizant of recent Congressional actions of shutdown and sequestration and how they have adversely affected business’ ability to rebound after the great recession.  This continuing threat of discontinuity created by shutdowns and threats of shutdowns has caused serious economic harm to our region’s businesses, both large and small, forcing layoffs, furloughs and lack of strategic investment.

We urge you to continue funding the operations of government that allows for budget-conscious scrutiny while avoiding any further damaging fiscal mayhem.  We consider this to be of the highest priority for sustaining the vitality of the region, the nation and the perception of our country as fiscally responsible by members of the global community.

Robert Gangi, Chairman
Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce

New Northwestern Potomac River Crossing

Dulles Regional Chamber recently signed on to a letter to Governor McAuliffe urging Virginia to enter into discussions with Maryland to upgrade the American Legion Bridge (ALB) and, concurrently, pursue an additional river crossing to the west of the ALB.

Recently Commonwealth Transportation Board "CTB" members Gary Garczynski and Jim Dyke introduced a resolution that embodies the main principles of the Coalition letter by:

    • Instructing VDOT to enter into discussions with the MD and DC DOTs.
    • Expressing the reality that there is no one solution to addressing the challenge of our Potomac River crossings.
    • Stating that while improvements to the American Legion Bridge may be the most obvious, dialog with MD and DC should be broad and include additional new crossings and the Rosslyn Tunnel.

The CTB will vote on this resolution at their October 27th meeting in Virginia Beach.

In July, the staff presented the results of the Potomac River Crossings Condition study and recommended that the CTB adopt a resolution considering only improvements to the American Legion Bridge. Fortunately, our Coalition’s efforts appear to have succeeded in expanding that focus.

Over the next month, we can expect that opponents to this strategy will claim that studies have shown a new crossing is not needed and that there is no public support.

In fact, a 1998 VDOT Study looked at several potential crossings and found a new bridge would carry in excess of 100,000 vehicles per day by 2020 and a 2014 private sector commissioned study reaffirmed those results. Additionally, as we know public support does exist for a new crossing as evidenced by a recent readers’ poll conducted by the Leesburg Today.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Loudoun County, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) have partnered together to bring much needed renovations to Route 606.

The construction, which is set to begin immediately, will widen the road from two lanes to a four-lane divided roadway between Evergreen Mills Road and the Dulles Greenway, which spans roughly 5 miles. The construction is set to be completed Fall of 2017.

The total cost of the project is currently set at $107.7 million. Under the partnership, VDOT is contributing $41.5 million, Loudoun County, approximately $41.2 million, and MWAA is contributing about $25 million as well as about 40 acres of land, valued at approximately $12 million.

To read more on this project, click here or here.

In an effort to help close the skills gap in key industry sectors of critical importance and to encourage employer-led talent development solutions, Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced the Commonwealth’s first talent solutions grants competition. With $900,000 in grant money available, job training and developing vital workplace skills for employees will increase and become more efficient.

In partnership with the Virginia Employment Commission, the grants will be made available to three types of private sector applicants:

  • A group of businesses operating in the same industry sector that comes together out of a shared commitment to design and execute an innovative and highly effective training program to develop a talent pipeline of skilled workers for entry level jobs that can lead to career positions.  
  • A group of businesses from different industry sectors that have a common workforce development need and join together to design and execute training to develop shared skill requirements in new job applicants or incumbent workers.  
  • An individual employer who has identified a need to lead a skills development initiative with companies who comprise that employer’s supply chain.  In this type of grant application, the large employer takes the lead in working with members of its supply chain to identify common critical workplace skills that can be developed through incumbent or pre-employment training.

To read the full press release, click here.

The Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, has announced that Virginia Velocity, the Governor’s first business plan competition, is now open to applicants!

The competition is open to all for-profit companies in the bioscience and energy sectors that have been operating in their current business for at least 24 months, even those based outside of Virginia. The competition will award at least four winners and reward $850,000 in prizes to those winners. The application period will be open through July 10, 2015.

If you would like to be involved with the competition but are not an eligible organization, there is still a spot for you! Applications for judges and mentors are being accepted as well. Experience in business start-ups, entrepreneurship, and business plan evaluation are required.

If you would like to apply for either spot, click here! If you would like to learn more about Virginia Velocity, click here.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority released an April 27 press release giving the current status of the Dulles Metrorail Project.
Here are some key points to remember as you communicate with your constituents:

Phase 1

  • Global Settlement with DTP settles major Phase 1 close-out issues – major milestone
  • Phase 1 costs up $76 million; still within federally approved Phase 1 budget
  • No impact to tolls due to this $76 million increase

Phase 2

  • Design changes for safety and reliability adding 13 months to Phase 2 schedule
  • Many Phase 1 changes came late in construction, must be incorporated into Phase 2
  • Result will be safer and more reliable system
  • Cost increase expected to fall well within $550 million Phase 2 contingency and thus to have no impact on tolls

To read the complete press release, click here.

For additional information you may call Marcia McAllister at 703-572-0506.