Jo Knows: Weekly News 6.3.16

//Jo Knows: Weekly News 6.3.16

Jo Knows: Weekly News 6.3.16

NLIHC

NLIHC’s annual report, Out of Reach, documents the gap between wages and the price of housing across the United States. The report’s Housing Wage is an estimate of the hourly wage that a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest and safe rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on rent and utility costs. Click here to learn more about Prince William County.

TRANSPORTATION

 Governor signs executive order on safety oversight for DC Metro

Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an executive directive Wednesday that seeks to spur the creation of a new oversight agency for Washington’s much-maligned Metro subway system, which has been plagued by safety and management problems and is under mounting pressure from politicians to reverse a downward spiral that has cost passengers their lives, created service outages and cut ridership. Paul Wiedefeld, general manager and CEO of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority since November, axed 20 managers last week as part of his effort to overhaul the authority, an effort that includes a massive maintenance and repair program starting next month.

Maryland, Virginia and DC reach agreement on new Metro safety commission
Under federal pressure to beef up safety monitoring of Metro, officials in Maryland, Virginia and the District have drafted legislation to create a regional oversight commission that would have “robust” power to investigate safety lapses but also would be allowed to withhold its findings from the public. The proposal, unveiled Wednesday, comes at a time of heightened concern among officials and hundreds of thousands of Metro riders about track fires and other dangerous safety lapses. It also comes amid calls for more transparency from the transit agency and its leaders. Representatives for the chief executives in the three jurisdictions did not respond to requests to explain the reason for the confidentiality provisions.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY

Prince William to continue testing wells near coal ash ponds

Prince William County has ordered additional water tests at two houses near Dominion Virginia Power’s coal ash ponds despite a report from a county-hired contractor that concluded the ponds “do not represent a potential source in connection with lead or other constituents identified in the private well samples” taken earlier by the state. The county hired Ashland-based Resource International as experts to help review test results from wells at homes near the ash ponds and help advise the county as Dominion Virginia Power prepares to close the ponds at Possum Point Power Station and three other sites around the state. Resource International’s review of six Health Department well tests found no evidence of coal ash contamination and concluded that the tests were scientifically sound and valid. Those tests had been called into question by some residents, politicians and environmentalists.

Strategic plan group talks transportation improvements, house rules
Virginia Railway Express trains that travel both north and south all day, more bike lanes, and more commuter parking are just some of the transportation wishes for the group tasked determining what Prince William County will need as its population grows. Nowhere on the big list was an extension of Metro rail to the county, something advocates have long called for despite the Washington, D.C. subway system’s funding issues and crumbling infrastructure. Members of the Prince William County Strategic Plan Committee made this of desires at its sixth scheduled meeting on May 25. The group is made up of representatives appointed by members on the County Board of Supervisors and four county staff members. It will spend the rest of year discussing what type of education, public safety, human services, and transportation improvements the county needs.

STATE

Out of Reach 2016: Virginia

The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual report, Out of Reach, documents the gap between wages and the price of housing across the United States. The report’s Housing Wage is an estimate of the hourly wage that a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest and safe rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on rent and utility costs. In Virginia, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,167. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — a household must earn $3,890 monthly or $46,675 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into an hourly Housing Wage of $22.44.

ELECTIONS

U.S. Supreme Court dismisses GOP appeal; new Va. congressional districts stand

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday unanimously dismissed a Republican appeal of Virginia’s new congressional districts, which means that the 4th District officially will add Richmond and Petersburg and become more favorable to Democrats. A three-judge panel redrew the map, substantially altering the 4th District, in order to fix constitutional flaws with the 3rd District, represented by Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, D-3rd. The panel had twice found that Republicans in the Virginia legislature packed too many additional African-Americans into the 3rd District, diluting minority voters’ influence in surrounding districts.

Corey Stewart making run for governor’s mansion

Corey Stewart says he’s running for governor in part because he has a lot in common with Donald J. Trump. “I’m a lot like him,” Stewart said of Trump, who chose Stewart to lead his campaign in Virginia last December. “I like to fight. I stand up for my values. I stand up for people and I never back down.” Stewart, 48, is serving his third term at the helm of Prince William County government after being re-elected chairman of the board of supervisors last November with about 56 percent of the vote. Stewart was already talking about seeking higher office on Election Day last fall, but said he wanted to wait a bit before announcing his next move. As it turns out, he waited just five months.

 

Jo Gehlbach
Government Affairs Coordinator

By | 2017-03-29T17:30:32-04:00 June 6th, 2016|Jo Knows|0 Comments

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