Like trains pulling into a station, regional transportation leaders converged in Alexandria today to cut the ribbon at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s new technology hub, the Metro Integrated Command and Communications Center (MICC).
The new 14-story MICC, located at 2401 Mill Road in the city’s Carlyle neighborhood, will hold up to 1,400 Metro staffers, and is home to the system’s data center, cybersecurity operations, bus and rail video teams, communications, and administrative support.
Metro General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke said the new facility is a game-changer.
“The MICC is a world-class control center that brings our rail, bus, security, and maintenance operations together in one place for the first time and our customer communications teams,” Clarke said. “Instead of managing service from separate control centers, we can coordinate together in real-time, working as a unified team to provide customers with clear, consistent messaging.”
Mayor Justin Wilson said important regional work will be done in the building.
“Metro is a key partner throughout the region, and we are proud they will call Alexandria home,” said Wilson. “The hundreds of employees who will be here will find the Eisenhower Corridor is a great area where they can work, live, and play.”
The MICC is Metro’s final piece of its Office Consolidation Plan, replacing the aging Jackson Graham Building in Washington, D.C.
Metro Board Chair Paul Smedberg, a former Alexandria City Council member, said the move will save Metro millions over the next two decades.
“Metro’s new Alexandria office with the MICC is the last major step in a broader office consolidation strategy that will save the transit authority $120 million over the next 20 years,” Smedberg said. “The Board recognized the importance of implementing this strategy, the goals of which were not only to create a long-term revenue stream, but also to improve employee safety, productivity, and satisfaction.”
Future cost-savings will be crucial, as the region has to help bail the transit system out of a $750 million budget deficit by next summer.
The Alexandria Police Department and local non-profits are getting a federal funding boost as part of the new omnibus funding bill.
According to Beyer:
- $1,500,000 for the Alexandria City AHDC Arlandria Housing+ Project, a multi-phase, mixed-use project that will combine 475 units of affordable housing with commercial, retail, and community space
- $1,000,000 for Full Deployment of Body-Worn Cameras in Alexandria Police Department
- $1,500,000 on behalf of ALIVE!, Inc. for the Alexandria Community Food Resource Center
- $750,000 for the Notabene Drive, Four Mile Rd., and Old Dominion Blvd. Flood Mitigation Project, Arlandria
The $1.5 million to the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) is going to support a new housing project in the Arlandria-Chirilagua neighborhood.
The additional body-worn camera funding follows an earlier federal boost in grant funding for Alexandria’s body-worn camera program.
This bill has funding I secured for Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax County projects to make our community healthier, boost clean energy, strengthen our infrastructure, support affordable housing, feed the hungry, improve law enforcement transparency, and more. 2/ pic.twitter.com/GAjKnLvFju
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) December 23, 2022
Photo via Tony Webster/Flickr
Inova Alexandria Hospital celebrated its 150th anniversary on Monday with local elected officials.
The hospital was founded in 1872, in the wake of a typhoid outbreak. It is Virginia’s oldest continuously operating community hospital.
“The city of Alexandria faced a significant health threat,” said Inova Alexandria President Dr. Rina Bansal. “A ship docking in Alexandria’s port had an outbreak of typhoid and everyone in the city fear a wider epidemic was on the way.”
The hospital was founded as the Alexandria Infirmary Association in 1872 by Julia Johns, the daughter of the Episcopal Bishop of Alexandria. Johns called on her charitable friends and formed a board of Lady Managers, who operated the hospital for decades. The first surgery at the hospital was reportedly a leg amputation in 1882, at the first location at the intersection of Duke and Fairfax Streets in Old Town.
The infirmary was also the first nursing school in Virginia. Alexandria Hospital was officially renamed in 1904, and the current 318-bed facility at 4320 Seminary Road has been in use since the 1960s.
“Alexandria residents don’t have to choose between getting world class and health care and getting convenient health care close to home,” said Dr. J. Stephen Jones, president and CEO of the Inova Health System.
The hospital merged with the Inova health system in 1996, and will eventually move to the Landmark area. By 2028, the proposed 675,000 square foot Inova at Landmark project will include a 130,000-square-foot cancer center and 110,000 square-foot specialty outpatient care center.
“You all are not only contributing to the health of our community for the future, but you’re also contributing to the economic health of our community and very much becoming a catalyst for redevelopment at Landmark law and we’re very excited to see that come to fruition,” Mayor Justin Wilson told hospital staff.
Alexandria’s Democrat Congressman Don Beyer was easily reelected to his fifth term in office on Tuesday.
Beyer won the race for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District with 73% of the vote (188,285 votes) against Republican Karina Lipsman with 25% (64,503 votes) and less than 2% (3,764 votes) for Independent candidate Teddy Fikre, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.
In Alexandria, that equated to:
- Beyer won with 77% of the vote (40,226 votes)
- Republican Karina Lipsman received 21% (10,930 votes)
- Independent Teddy Fikre got 2% (794 votes)
“I’m just so grateful,” Beyer told Democrats at Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray after his victory was assured. “This is the best job I’ve ever had the most meaningful chance I’ve ever had to have an impact on other people’s lives.”
Lipsman tweeted thanks to Beyer for his service, and said that she will continue to fight for a “failing” education system.
I will continue to fight to give voice to those issues, because they’re so deeply important. I would also like to thank Don Beyer for his service to this district — public service is an endeavor that deserves so much respect. #VA08
— Karina Lipsman (@KarinaCongress) November 9, 2022
There were 52,072 votes cast in Alexandria, and Beyer won every precinct in the city. Lipsman’s best precinct was City Hall, where Beyer won with 60% of ballots cast (500 votes) and she got 39% (324 votes).
Beyer, a former lieutenant governor who also served as the Ambassador to Switzerland during the Obama administration, was first elected to Congress in 2014. Since then, Beyer has won reelection by a significant margin, winning 76% of the vote in 2018 and 75.8% in 2020.
Grateful to voters in Northern Virginia for again putting their confidence in me to represent them in the House of Representatives. Their trust in me is humbling, and I will continue to do all I can to earn it. My statement: pic.twitter.com/mJCE2SNk03
— Don Beyer (@DonBeyerVA) November 9, 2022
I met @DonBeyerVA on Election Day 33 years ago.
He was the real deal then as he ran to be our Lieutenant Governor and today he ably gives voice to the 8th District in Congress.
We are lucky to have him back representing us for another term in a very different House.
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) November 9, 2022
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is addressing a key constituent concern — airplane noise — through the just-signed CHIPS Act.
The $280 billion bill is primarily focused on boosting domestic semiconductor manufacturing, but contains other scientific research provisions. Among them is wording from Beyer to “bolster NASA’s efforts to reduce emissions from the aviation industry while also reducing the impact of airplane noise in airport-adjacent communities.”
“Climate change and aircraft noise have always been two of the most consistent constituent concerns in my district,” Beyer said in a statement yesterday. “I wrote a bill to address both problems – the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act – which President Biden just signed into law.”
The legislation “authorizes NASA to accelerate its work on electrified propulsion systems and the integration of multiple technologies and airframe concepts to achieve noise and emissions reductions,” Beyer’s office said in a press release.
The roar of jet engines from airliners arriving at and departing from National Airport has long been a concern of Arlington and Alexandria residents, particularly those who live along the flight paths near the Potomac River. Beyer has frequently pledged to address the noise issue from commercial airliners and military helicopters, writing letters to top federal officials about flight paths and attaching legislation to larger bills.
The full press release is below.
President Joe Biden yesterday signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law, which included the first NASA authorization passed by Congress in over five years. That section of the Act, Title VII of the science division, included the full text of Rep. Don Beyer’s Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act. Beyer chairs the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics; he introduced the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act to bolster NASA’s efforts to create the next generation of climate-friendly aviation while also reducing the impact of airplane noise in airport-adjacent communities.
“Climate change and aircraft noise have always been two of the most consistent constituent concerns in my district. I wrote a bill to address both problems – the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act – which President Biden just signed into law,” said Beyer. “As the climate crisis continues to harm American communities, ensuring we are also tackling aviation emissions is vital. This piece of legislation does just that by making the necessary investments to develop the technology to make cleaner flight a reality in addition to driving innovation that would reduce aircraft noise pollution.”
This legislation sets a goal for cleaner, quieter airplanes, accelerating NASA’s aeronautics work on reducing greenhouse gas and noise emissions. Specifically, this bill:
- Establishes the ambitious goal of commercial airplanes emitting 50 percent less greenhouse gas compared to the highest performing aircraft in 2021 as well as being net-zero by 2050.
- Challenges NASA to work with industry partners to carry out flight tests by 2025 that will enable industry to bring a new generation of more sustainable airplanes into service between 2030 and 2040.
- Authorizes NASA to accelerate its work on electrified propulsion systems and the integration of multiple technologies and airframe concepts to achieve noise and emissions reductions.
- Requires NASA to provide data and insight on new technologies to help the FAA’s work to ensure the safe and effective deployment of these technologies.
Text of the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act is available here.
Rep. Don Beyer announced yesterday (Thursday) that the Alexandria Police Department has officially been awarded $600,000 in federal funding to get the city’s beleaguered body-worn camera program off the ground.
The federal funding was allocated as part of a Department of Justice (DOJ) grant in the omnibus spending bill, which was approved in March pending the DOJ grant process. A spokesperson from Beyer’s office said the DOJ recently approved the grant, clearing the way for the money to get to the police department.
“I’m proud to announce that the DOJ’S Office of Justice Programs has awarded the funds to support this critically important initiative in our community,” Beyer said in a release. “Body worn cameras are an important and necessary tool for bringing more transparency, accountability, and trust in policing in our communities.”
The release noted that the Alexandria Police Department is the only full-service law enforcement agency in Northern Virginia without a body-worn camera program. While neighboring Arlington and Fairfax got body-worn camera program pilots up and running around 2016, a series of budget shortfalls and extensive finger-pointing between the police department and the city government meant Alexandria police officers only started wearing body cameras earlier this year.
Even the pilot program approved in this year’s budget was significantly scaled back to $2.2 million compared to the $13 million budget request from then-Police Chief Michael Brown.
Photo via Tony Webster/Flickr
Today (Tuesday) is the last chance Alexandrians have to vote in the Democratic primary.
Election Day turnout was at about 1.5%, with 1,534 Alexandria residents voting in person, as of 10 a.m. today, according to the Alexandria Office of Voter Registration and Elections. But about 5,000 absentee ballots have been returned, bringing total turnout to about 6.7% of registered voters.
Virasingh, a daughter of immigrants, was born and raised in Arlington and is active with the Arlington County Democratic Committee. She was previously part of Communities in Schools at Barcroft Elementary School. Her professional resume includes work for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the IRS Criminal Investigations Unit, and tech company Palantir.
Virasingh’s website lists some campaign priorities as housing for all, equity in education, securing a living wage and Medicare for all.
Beyer has held onto the 8th District, which also includes Arlington, the City of Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County, since he won a crowded primary for former Congressman Jim Moran’s seat in 2014 and the general election later that year.
Among issues Beyer lists on his campaign website are climate change, housing, immigration, gun violence prevention, the federal workforce and others.
The winner will face any non-Democratic candidates in November. The Republican Party nominated Arlington resident Karina Lipsman.
How to vote
Any voter can cast a ballot in the Democratic primary, regardless of party affiliation, because Virginia is an open primary state. The deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration, was May 31.
Polling locations are open until 7 p.m. Voters must cast their ballots at their assigned location, which can be found on the Virginia elections website. If mailing a ballot, it must be postmarked no later than today or delivered in person today.
Photo via Alexandria Democratic Committee/Facebook
Local Republicans nominated Arlington resident Karina Lipsman on Saturday to seek the U.S. House seat currently held by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).
Early voting is underway for the primary to determine whether Lipsman faces Beyer or his primary challenger, Victoria Virasingh, in the November general election. The 8th District encompasses Arlington, Alexandria, the City of Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County.
At the local GOP’s ranked choice convention, Lipsman earned 61.5% of the votes in the first round of vote counting, according to a press release on her campaign website.
Votes for Lipsman came out ahead of other Republican hopefuls as the slate of candidates sought to catch the wave that elected Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Alexandria resident Kezia Tunnell received 19.12% of the vote, and the 2020 nominee Jeff Jordan received 15.92%. Two other candidates, McLean resident Monica Carpio, and Heerak Christian Kim, a registered nurse and former public school teacher, did not break 2.5%, the release stated.
Lipsman was nominated “to take on the progressive establishment” in the 8th District, an email from Arlington GOP read. The seat has been held by a Democrat for decades, including by Beyer who won a crowded primary for former Congressman Jim Moran’s seat in 2014 and the general election later that year.
Lipsman fled Ukraine when it was still under Soviet Union control and came to the United States with her mother and grandparents, according to her campaign website. They didn’t speak English, survived on food stamps and lived in low-income housing in Baltimore. When she was 18, Lipsman became a U.S. citizen.
She received a bachelor’s degree in economics while she was working full-time in the financial industry, and later earned a master’s in engineering from Johns Hopkins, according to the website. She’s worked in the national defense industry for over a decade.
Her website outlines priorities like supporting law enforcement, opposing tax increases, stopping illegal immigration and her stance against abortion.
She says she supports school choice and community colleges, technical schools, and vocational training programs. She also wrote, “We must fight the dangerous voices that call for lowering educational standards in the name of equity.”
Lipsman’s website she mentions extremists and divisive politics. “Let’s be honest — there are loud extremists on both sides, who benefit from dividing our country, and we cannot let that happen,” it reads. “Divisive politics are poisonous and we must work together to overcome the gridlock on the critical issues that are facing our country.”
After living in Arlington for more than 10 years, she says she understands the issues facing the community.
“As your congresswoman, I will engage with you directly and represent your interests and put solutions for our district before partisan politics,” her website reads. “I will advocate for common-sense policies that fight crime, reduce inflation, ease transportation and improve our educational standards.”
Photo via Fairfax County Republican Committee
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine and Congressman Don Beyer (D-8th) took a quick break from work in Washington today (March 18) for a tour of Alexandria Renew Enterprises’ RiverRenew Tunnel Project.
The $454.4 million project will replace Old Town’s combined sewer system to prevent 120 million gallons of combined sewage from flowing into the Potomac River every year. The project is partially funded through a $321 million loan from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and $50 million from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The Virginia General Assembly mandated that the project be completed by 2025. Alexandria, Lynchburg and Richmond all have CSO projects in development — the latter of which Kaine worked on when he was a member of the Richmond City Council in the 1990s.
“The project had started before I got onto the council, and it’s still going on,” Kaine said after the tour. “It’s such an expensive and massive thing to do… It’s really interesting to see how you solve your challenge here.”
After the tour, Kaine discussed infrastructure and job training at Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge campus.
In addition to ARPA funding, Alexandria is getting some love from the federal coffers for several longtime local priorities.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th) announced last week that $5.4 million had been secured for ten infrastructure projects around Northern Virginia, all of which were in Beyer’s community project funding requests added to the omnibus spending bill.
“This project funding will support storm sewer and climate resilience improvements in Alexandria and Falls Church, improve IT services in Fairfax County, and fund mental health resources in Arlington,” Beyer said in a release. “It will support a pilot program for the deployment of body-worn cameras for the Alexandria Police Department, and help implement recommendations made by the National Park Service’s recently-completed safety study for GW Parkway. It will enhance pedestrian routes across our region, and expand our electric vehicle infrastructure.”
Beyer thanked his colleagues for the bipartisan effort in getting the funding passed and to local leaders who identified and helped develop the requests.
The Alexandria tranche of funding includes:
Project Name: Pilot Deployment of Body Worn Cameras in the Alexandria Police Department
Recipient: City of Alexandria
Amount Enacted: $600,000
Project Name: Clifford Avenue, Fulton Street & Manning Street Storm Sewer Improvements
Recipient: City of Alexandria
Amount Enacted: $420,000
Project Name: George Washington Memorial Parkway – Traffic and Safety Context Sensitive Solutions, Belle Haven to City of Alexandria
Recipient: City of Alexandria
Amount Enacted: $300,000
Alexandria has repeatedly failed to get a body camera program off the ground, with efforts going back as far as 2015. The $600,000 helps, but estimates have put the total cost to purchase and operate the cameras at $13 million.
The storm sewer improvements in Del Ray are also at an area long targeted for storm infrastructure investment. Some preliminary work began at the site in late February, according to the city website.
“I am thankful to my colleagues who enacted the legislation to fund these initiatives, and to the local leaders who worked with me to identify and develop the initial requests,” Beyer said. These projects will make a real, positive difference in our region.”