Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I-66 Update - No Gallows Flyover

I wanted to make sure that you heard the good news about the I-66 Project update that I just received this morning!

I just got off of the phone with representatives from Express Mobility Partners (EMP) who wanted to let me know that they are abandoning their preliminary plans to use a large flyover ramp at Gallows Road near Dunn Loring to avoid an electric facility at the Dunn Loring Metro. VDOT, EMP and WMATA worked together, based on your objections, to find alternatives to the large, unsightly ramp. Although they haven’t settled on a specific alternative yet, they are now confident enough that options exist to announce the ramp will not be necessary.

As the rest of the project moves forward, please know that I will continue to work to ensure that the needs of our community are met while also limiting the overall footprint of the project.

You can view my full statement on this announcement below.


For Immediate Release

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Statement from Delegate Simon on the I-66 Project Update

Richmond, VA – Virginia Delegate Marcus B. Simon (HD-53), whose district is heavily impacted by the planned installation of express toll lanes on I-66, issued this statement today regarding the recent decision to remove a proposed flyover ramp in Dunn Loring from the project plans.

"I was pleased to get a call this morning from Express Mobility Partners (EMP) letting me know that they are abandoning their plans to build a flyover ramp at Gallows Road in Dunn Loring, in response to community concerns. I want to thank VDOT and EMP for their willingness to listen to the community and for working with Senator Dick Saslaw, Senator Chap Petersen, Delegate Mark Keam, and myself to ensure those concerned were addressed early in the process. I credit Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane and Governor McAuliffe for their leadership in working with WMATA and the EMP team to make the ramp unnecessary and not letting this issue linger when it became clear there were alternatives available."

More details on the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project can be found at


Thursday, April 20, 2017

In Memory of James M. Scott

As you may have learned by now, my predecessor and friend, Jim Scott, passed away earlier this month of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Many of you have asked for information about his memorial service. Below please find those details and the text of my recent Richmond Report that appears in this week’s edition of the Falls Church News Press.

Memorial Service and Donations

A memorial for former Delegate James "Jim" Scott will be held on Saturday, May 6th at 2:00pm at the INOVA Center for Personalized Health Conference Center Atrium (3225 Gallows Road, Fairfax).

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that those who are interested make a donation in honor of Jim to either the Insight Memory Care Center, Homestretch, or Northern Virginia Family Services.

In Memory of Jim Scott

This month I’d like to use the space normally devoted to my monthly Richmond Report to share my memories of my early days in Richmond working for former Delegate Jim Scott, who died last week of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Like many recent college grads, I was anxious to find a job that would allow me to live as an independent adult when I graduated in the spring of 1992. A journalism minor at NYU, I had applied to literally hundreds of newspapers looking for a paid gig. The best offers I got all were all unpaid internships lasting at least six months. It was beginning to look bleak.

Then I got word from home that the new Delegate who just returned from his first session in Richmond was looking for a Legislative Assistant. The ideal candidate would be a decent writer and a hard worker, but also willing to work for next to nothing.

To me, “next to nothing” sounded way better than nothing and would allow me to apply my writing skills. So, I interviewed and accepted my first “real” job working for James M. “Jim” Scott. At the time, practically everyone knew his nickname “Landslide Jim,” based on his one vote margin of victory in the 1991 election.

Coming from journalism school, I was a little apprehensive about going to work for a politician. I expected a self-important, smooth talking, boorish type with either an oversized ego or an incredibly fragile one. All I knew from politicians were the caricatures I’d seen on television.

What I found in Jim Scott, however, was a man of amazing character.

Jim, I learned, was in politics for all the right reasons. First off, he didn’t need to be. He’d retired from the Board of Supervisors and was making a nice living doing government affairs work for the local hospital system. Although Democrats controlled the Virginia General Assembly, party labels didn’t always mean the same thing then that they do now. Few of his Democratic colleagues were as liberal – what we’d now call progressive - as Jim Scott. He could provide a different voice, one that reflected the values of his Northern Virginia district.

In Richmond, Jim didn’t seek the spotlight, but rather sought opportunities to bring his experience and background in local government, health care, and education to bear. Because Jim had expertise in fair housing and housing affordability, he ended up carrying bills on manufactured housing – mobile homes. We didn’t have a lot of mobile home owners in Fairfax and McLean - the neighborhoods that made up the 53rd at the time - but Jim was happy to carry bills that would improve consumer protections for owners of manufactured homes and work with the industry to create a legal and regulatory framework that made sense for their business model.

What I learned watching that process unfold was that Jim’s greatest asset was his ability to learn and understand new information, apply it to what he already knew from his experience working on housing issues in Fairfax, and navigate the process so that everyone came out feeling like a winner. While not all his bills passed, he worked hard on all the issues he fought for, earning a reputation as someone that everyone wanted to work with.

While Jim never sought to be front and center, he prioritized responding to reporters and the news media in a timely manner and as often as possible. One lesson I’ve never forgotten is to always find a way to say yes to the press. You can’t dodge them on a tough question on Monday, then pitch them a story on Tuesday. Jim said it very simply, “If I start saying no, they’ll stop asking.”

Although I only worked for him for a few years before he introduced me to my next great mentor, Kate Hanley, I was careful to stay in touch with Jim and followed his career closely for the next 20 years. I was proud to see him work on issues such as brain injury awareness, ballot access, gun violence and domestic violence prevention, and so much more.

It was a privilege to work for him in the early days and an honor to succeed him in representing the 53rd District. Jim’s compassion made him a champion of the people, a true progressive before his time. His sense of humor made him accessible. He embodied the type of public servant I strive to be. I believe that we all serve a purpose and that good people can do great things. Jim Scott was a great man who did great things for our community. He will be missed, but his legacy lives on.

Monday, April 3, 2017

VDOT I-66 Project Update & Public Hearings

With the General Assembly's Reconvene Session coming up on Wednesday, I was going to wait until next week to fill you all in on what's happening with the I-66 outside the beltway, but with some information coming out in various forums, I don't want to wait any longer to share everything I know in the interest of transparency.

Last November, Governor McAuliffe announced that Express Mobility Partners (EMP) was selected to build express lanes on I-66 Outside the Beltway, following a 16-month procurement process. EMP will be responsible for financing, designing, building, maintaining, and operating the project under the Public-Private Transportation Act.

Nothing is set in stone and your input is extremely important.

Since the announcement, EMP has been working on the engineering with the intent to hold public hearings to present the refined plans. I have heard from many of you who are concerned with some of the most recent changes. I, along with other local elected officials whose districts are mostly affected by this project, will be meeting with VDOT and EMP staff to ensure that your voices are heard.

In the meantime, VDOT has promised me they will do their best to meet with any HOA, community organization, or civic association that would like to schedule a briefing on the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project. The best way to do that would be to email my office or give us call (571-327-0053) and I can help you set something up. I want to make sure that the most accurate information is available to you and that VDOT/EMP understand how best to serve our community.

You can also sign up to get project updates via email.

Upcoming VDOT Public Hearings

There are three public hearings scheduled for June 12th, 14th, and 15th. Although not all the meeting details have been finalized, the most up to date information can be found on the meeting page of the Transform 66 website.

Yours in service,