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Rendering of outdoor plaza at Monumental Arena development (image courtesy of JBG SMITH)

(Updated at 9 p.m.) Virginia’s House of Delegates voted to pass the arena bill 59-40, sending the proposal to an uncertain future in the Senate.

Earlier this week, the Democrat-controlled Virginia Senate voted not to table the bill on the arena’s stadium authority for a hearing.

The proposal to build a new arena at Potomac Yard for the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals has met with a mixed reception.

“I’m pleased that the House of Delegates has allowed the community conversation on the potential of this economic development opportunity to continue” Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson told ALXnow. “I look forward to further engagement with legislators in RIchmond and residents of Alexandria.”

Many local leaders say the proposal would be a boon for Alexandria’s economy and development plans for Potomac Yard, while other Alexandria representatives and protestors against the arena highlighted concerns that the new arena would create more traffic than either the local roads or Metro station can handle, among other concerns.

Alexandria Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker announced today that she would vote against the Potomac Yard arena legislation.

Bennett-Parker said that the bill to create the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Authority and Financing Fund “currently falls disproportionately on our residents,” who will see residential property tax increases. She also said that the transportation funds needed to bring the $2 billion entertainment district to Potomac Yard by 2028 have not been defined.

“Despite the Governor’s recently released transportation study, there remain a lot of concerns and questions,” Bennett-Parker wrote in an email. “Besides the effects of the proposal on Route 1 and surrounding roads, and the critical, long-term investment needed for WMATA regardless of this proposal, it is unclear what the Commonwealth is actually committing to in terms of transportation funds.”

Bennett-Parker, a former vice mayor of Alexandria, said that she has been “continually frustrated” by Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration’s lack of forthcomingness.

“The Administration has failed to share important details and failed to give good-faith guarantees for workers and worker protections,” she wrote. “Given the significant impacts the proposed entertainment district would have on our community, I cannot in good faith vote for this without more information on the financing of the project, a more sustained commitment to WMATA funding, state-funded transportation improvements to mitigate its effects, protections for workers, displacement protections for Arlandria residents, and appropriate representation of Alexandrians on the Authority.”

Bennett-Parker also joined her former colleagues by stating that the city needs more representation on the proposed 15-member Virginia Stadium Authority board. The House version of the bill would have three members on the board from Alexandria.

“That is unacceptable for a project that would so dramatically affect our community,” Bennett-Parker wrote.

Monumental Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Capitals and Wizards, put out a release celebrating the vote in the House of Delegates.

““We are so encouraged by the bipartisan support for this monumental opportunity to create jobs and generate revenue that will benefit the city, the region, and the entire Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Monumental’s Chief Administrative Officer Monica Dixon. “This is a big step forward in the process, but we know it is not the last step. We believe this is the right project for Alexandria, for Virginia, and for our fans, players, coaches, and employees. We look forward to working with the leadership, members, and staff of the Virginia Senate to answer their questions and earn their support for this transformative economic opportunity.”

One of the groups opposing the new arena, the Coalition to Stop the Arena at Potomac Yard, said despite the vote they still believe the momentum is against the arena.

“It has been exactly two months since Governor Youngkin and Ted Leonsis stood on stage in Alexandria to announce this project,” Potomac Yard resident and co-founder of the Coalition, Adrien Lopez, said in a release. “Despite a lot of flashy presentations and social media posts, serious questions have piled up and opposition is growing. We believe this idea is fatally flawed and the Senate should pursue other important matters before the Commonwealth.”

Governor Glenn Youngkin wants to break ground on the project by next year, which means a swift turnaround with approved legislation in both houses of the General Assembly. On Monday, however, Virginia President Pro Tempore Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-18) tweeted that the bill is not on the Senate Finance and Appropriations docket because it is “not ready for prime time.”

James Cullum and Vernon Miles contributed to this story

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Rendering of concert venue at Monumental Arena development (image courtesy of JBG SMITH)

(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) The Virginia House of Delegates on Friday printed an updated version of the bill establishing the Virginia Stadium Authority, which would own and finance construction of the $2 billion Potomac Yard arena and entertainment district.

While the Senate version of the bill is still in the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, the House version stipulates that a 15-member Virginia Stadium Authority board would be made up of:

  • Five members appointed by the governor
  • Two non-legislative members appointed by the House speaker
  • Three members from the Senate Rules Committee
  • Three members appointed by the Alexandria City Council
  • One member representing Arlington
  • One member representing Monumental Sports, the owner of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals

Alexandria City Council members were unanimously unhappy with the previous House version of the bill, which called for a nine-member Authority board, with six members appointed by the governor and three from Alexandria. The Council wants more city representation.

“We will continue to work through the legislative process to get legislation that works for Alexandria,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “We have a ways to go before this goes to the governor’s desk.”

Additionally, the House bill also creates oversight of the Virginia Stadium Authority with a 14-member “The Sports and Entertainment Authority Oversight Commission.” The commission members include the Virginia House speaker, the president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate and 12 delegates on the Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission.

City Council Member Kirk McPike said that on one hand, the governor isn’t appointing a majority of the board anymore, which he said is a “step in the right direction.”

“But I still want to see more representation for the City,” McPike said. “Whatever bills make it to the other chamber at crossover (when they are considered by the other legislative body) will change significantly in the second half of the session, and the City will continue to work to ensure we have as strong a voice as possible on the potential stadium authority board.”

Alexandria Vice Mayor Amy Jackson agreed with her colleagues, and also agreed with Virginia President Pro tempore Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-18), who tweeted on Feb. 10 that the bill is not on the Senate Finance and Appropriations docket because it is “not ready for prime time.”

“I agree with Wilson and McPike,” Jackson said. “I also agree with Senator Lucas, who said ‘We have a ways to go.'”

City Council Member Canek Aguirre doesn’t like the proposed makeup of the stadium authority.

“Not a fan of the new makeup, but will continue to work with the General Assembly to get something that works for Alexandria,” Aguirre said.

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Alexandria City Council members are crying foul over the proposed makeup of the Virginia Stadium Authority, which would finance construction of the $2 billion Potomac Yard arena and entertainment district.

Both the proposed Virginia House and Senate bills establishing the authority stipulate that the nine-member Virginia Stadium Authority board would be comprised of six members appointed by the governor and three from Alexandria.

That doesn’t sit well with the entire city Council, whose members say that the city needs a larger presence at the table.

Mayor Justin Wilson, Vice Mayor Amy Jackson and City Council Members Alyia Gaskins, Canek Aguirre, Kirk McPike, John Taylor Chapman, and Sarah Bagley all want more representation on the Virginia Stadium Authority. With North Potomac Yard poised to become the future home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals, the development poses economic, transportation, public safety, housing and other challenges that directly impact the city.

“Given the bonds are backed 50/50 by the city and state, we believe the board composition should be even as well,” Wilson told ALXnow. “It’s the Authority that owns the arena, not the city.”

Wilson said that the city is conducting constant conversations with both houses of the state legislature regarding the bills. Virginia Senate Majority Leader Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36) introduced the senate version of the bill on Jan. 19, and is now pending in the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations. That same day, House of Delegates Appropriations Chair Del. Luke E. Torian (D-52) introduced the house version of the bill, and it is now pending in the House Committee on Appropriations.

Surovell told ALXnow that there is wiggle room to change the bills, and that the legislation at this point is “far from final.”

In the meantime, residents against the proposal will protest outside the Potomac Yard Target store at 6 a.m. on Friday before embarking on a “lobbying and rally day” outside the General Assembly building in Richmond.

Jackson, who is running for mayor, says that the governor’s office should have no more than two seats on the board and that Arlington should not be represented for the North Potomac Yard proposal.

“Whatever the number ends up being, I believe the percentages/seats should allow Alexandria to have more representation,” Jackson told ALXnow. “That the ratio of House and Senate seats would still have close to even cast. That the Governor should have only one-to-two, and that Arlington should not have a seat at this table.”

McPike said in a town hall meeting late last month that he doesn’t “love that breakdown.”

“I would like to see our delegation to Richmond push for a five-four split, maybe even a four-five split,” he said.

The town hall was part of a three-month public engagement process that the city is currently undertaking to inform residents on the development.

McPike continued, “We want to be the ones to make this decision, not Richmond, that if this is going to happen or not happen, it needs to be because it fits or doesn’t fit the needs of the city.”

Rendering of aerial view of Monumental Arena development (image courtesy of JBG SMITH)

Aguirre told ALXnow that the Potomac Yard arena deal is “very fragile,” and that many potential pitfalls spell trouble. He said that the Authority should be made up of representatives from the state legislature, the governor’s office and the city.

“That’s a non starter for me, the way it’s written right now,” Aguirre said of the bills. “I mean, six appointments for the governor, three for the city. That doesn’t fly with me.”

Aguirre spoke with us after announcing his reelection campaign to the Alexandria Democratic Committee on Monday. He said that the deal is an overall positive for the city, but that it has to make financial sense.

“We can’t be stuck holding a bag with a bunch of debt,” Aguirre said. “I think that’s there’s still some questions around that. I just want to say this deal is very fragile. There’s a lot of different pitfalls.”

Chapman said that there should be an evenly split board, and that council members should serve on it.

“I believe the composition of the Board should be even,” he told ALXnow.

Bagley says that Alexandria is a partner in the venture and “any potential authority composition should reflect that partnership.”

Gaskins, who is also running for mayor, said that the Virginia Stadium Authority board should have five members from Alexandria.

“Alexandrians will be the people most directly impacted by this project and it is important that it is reflected in the makeup of the board,” she told ALXnow. “I believe that Alexandria should have majority representation with five seats.”

Gaskins added that the city’s representatives on the board should reflect a diversity of opinions.

“As such, I think it would be helpful to have a combination of people, including community members, small business leaders and council or city government officials,” she said.

According to the legislation’s summary:

Establishes the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Authority as a political subdivision charged with financing the construction of a sports and entertainment campus. The Authority is composed of nine members, six of whom are appointed by the Governor and three of whom are appointed by the governing body of the City of Alexandria. Each appointed member is subject to specific criteria for appointment. The bill entitles the Authority to the following revenues: (i) sales tax revenues from construction and transactions on the campus, defined in the bill, but certain revenues that current law dedicates to transportation and education are excluded; (ii) all pass-through entity tax revenues and corporate income tax revenues from income generated by the company, defined in the bill, or any professional sports team or any affiliates as well as in the development and construction of the campus; and (iii) all personal income tax revenues from income generated through employment and business activity on the campus. It also authorizes the City of Alexandria to appropriate tax revenues to the Authority.

The revenues shall be deposited in the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Authority Financing Fund, created in the bill, from which the Authority will deposit revenues into priority accounts for Authority revenues, debt service, subordinate debt service, reserves, and capital expenditures and maintenance. If the Authority determines that all such accounts are sufficiently funded, the bill directs the Authority to issue the excess to the Commonwealth and the City of Alexandria if so provided for in any bond or financing agreements.

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Rendering of aerial view of Monumental Arena development (image courtesy of JBG SMITH)

Bills have been introduced in both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly for a crucial piece of the Potomac Yard arena plans.

The arena requires a state-created Virginia Sports and Entertainment Authority to finance the arena’s construction and nearby buildings.

The Authority is responsible for financing $1.4 billion of the overall $2 billion construction cost.

The bill by State Sen. Scott Surovell introduced in the State Senate said the Authority would be entitled to various streams of tax revenue, including:

(i) sales tax revenues from construction and transactions on the campus, defined in the bill, but certain revenues that current law dedicates to transportation and education are excluded; (ii) all pass-through entity tax revenues and corporate income tax revenues from income generated by the company, defined in the bill, or any professional sports team or any affiliates as well as in the development and construction of the campus; and (iii) all personal income tax revenues from income generated through employment and business activity on the campus. It also authorizes the City of Alexandria to appropriate tax revenues to the Authority.

Surovell’s bill was referred to the Committee on Finance and Appropriations on Friday while a matching bill in the House of Delegates was referred to the House Committee on Appropriations.

Despite bipartisan support from local, state and federal leaders at the proposal’s debut last fall, some state leaders said they remain unconvinced that the arena is a good idea. State Sen. Adam Ebbin said full funding to the Metro is a prerequisite for discussion of the new arena after both local activists and Metro leadership raised concerns about the Potomac Yard Metro station’s ability to handle arena crowds.

Crossover for legislation is on Tuesday, Feb. 13. The last day of the session is March 9.

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Helbiz bike in Alexandria (photo via Helbiz/Twitter)

Alexandria is urging the state to fund an e-bike rebate program.

The Virginia Mercury first reported that a city report looked into using grant funding and developer contributions to pay into an e-bike rebate program as early as this coming summer.

As part of the legislative package, the city is requesting that the state legislature fund a state-wide e-bike rebate program.

According to the city’s legislative package:

The City supports State investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, including funding for a State E-Bike rebate program and funding for the existing state electric vehicle rebate program to complement the federal rebate program.

Last year, five states — Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Vermont and Washington — announced e-bike incentive programs. In Colorado, the program offered a $500 tax credit to those who purchased an e-bike. Minnesota offered a point-of-sale rebate covering $1,500 of an e-bike purchase, or 50-75%.

The goal of the programs is to encourage people to use e-bikes rather than cars and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. E-bikes are faster and less physically demanding than traditional bicycles and, as this reporter’s colleagues can attest, less likely to leave the rider ostracized by showing up at a newsroom drenched in sweat.

Photo via Helbiz/Twitter

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Marijuana (photo via Wesley Gibbs/Unsplash)

Alexandria State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-39) will reintroduce a bill defeated last year to create a marketplace for legal sales and purchasing of cannabis.

Ebbin hopes the Democrat-controlled Virginia legislature will approve his bill to create a regulatory and licensing structure for the market, and “wholesale of marijuana and marijuana products to be administered by the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority.” The legislation was killed in committee by the House of Delegates last year.

“The bill would allow for cannabis retail sales with adults over 21 to begin on July 1 of 2024,” Ebbin said. “Those people who are in the pharmaceutical cannabis space could incubate new businesses well-experienced in the field so that some additional businesses would compete, and then even have more licenses, on January 1, 2025.”

Virginia legalized Cannabis possession in 2021. Adults 21 years and older can possess up to an ounce of cannabis in a public space, grow up to four plants in their home and “share” a gift of up to an ounce of marijuana to another adult. Possession of more than an ounce, but less than a pound, is still a civil penalty of $25. Possessing more than that is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

Ebbin said that the new bill is 40 pages, far shorter than the 400-page bill he introduced last year, but that it is essentially the same.

Virginia State Sen. Adam Ebbin speaks at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, July 22, 2020. (staff photo by James Cullum)

He also said that Gov. Glenn Youngkin has not been forthcoming on his views on cannabis.

“We know he doesn’t like cannabis,” Ebbin said. “There’ll be increased tax revenue, but also there would be reduction in the black market and organized crime. Rather, there would be tested products so that adults who choose to use cannabis would know exactly what they’re getting and not getting something that is in it or might not be healthy.”

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A Dec. 21 AlexRenew graphic showing progress in its massive RiverRenew tunnel-boring project (via Facebook)

(Updated at 1 p.m.) Alexandria won’t meet its state-mandated July 2025 deadline to complete its massive RiverRenew Tunnel Program, and two local members of the Virginia General Assembly will introduce bills this month extending the deadline by a year.

Virginia Senator Adam Ebbin (D-30) and Delegate David Bulova (D-11) are planning to introduce bills extending AlexRenew’s deadline to July 2026.

“My bill would extend Alexandria’s CSO timeline by up to a year to account for some supply chain delays,” Ebbin said.

The $454.4 million program will replace Old Town’s 19th century combined sewer system with a tunnel system, sewer infrastructure and improvements to AlexRenew’s wastewater treatment plant. But supply chain issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have so far led to a 90-day delay, said AlexRenew CEO Justin Carl.

Carl said that adding that the proposed July 2026 deadline would allow for AlexRenew to contend with other “unknown” delays.

AlexRenew recently celebrated 70% completion of the project with Hazel the tunnel-boring machine approaching King Street, digging a 12-foot-wide, two-mile-long waterfront tunnel to divert approximately 130 million gallons of raw sewage from flowing into the Potomac River every year. The Virginia General Assembly mandated in 2017 that the work must be completed by July 1, 2025 — a timeline for a project that Carl calls “one of the most aggressive” of its kind in the country.

“We have 2,000 feet to go and we expect to be  should be finished mining by early next month,” Carl said. “We now have to come back to AlexRenew and build a 20 million gallon per-day and 180 million gallon per-day pumping station. That’s a lot of electrical components, mechanical components, pumps, valves, that type of equipment, so we want to make sure that we’re accounting for the potential for having delays procuring that equipment as well when we build that pumping station, because we don’t want to have to go back to the GA (general assembly) a second time to ask for an additional extension.”

Virginia Senate Majority Leader Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36), who co-sponsored the original legislation mandating the program be completed by 2025, told ALXnow that he supports the extension.

The program is the largest infrastructure development in the city’s history, and city leaders have been considering an extension since the summer. In July, Mayor Justin Wilson said that without one the project will never be finished.

“We would reach a point where once the permit expires, they (the state legislature) essentially could not issue us a new permit because we were not in compliance with the permit requirements,” Wilson said at a City Council/AlexRenew Board CSO Workgroup meeting. “And they can’t  issue a new permit with different permit requirements that are contrary to state law. That’s basically what we run into.”

Carl said that the concrete shafts used to launch Hazel were delayed six weeks because of a concrete shortage and lack of truck drivers due to Covid-19. He also said that the war in Ukraine led to a four-week delay when Hazel was shipped from Germany.

“When we’re done, if we get done early, we’ll start the system up,” he said. “It’s not going to just sit there idle, obviously. Just it’s more of a safety net to get us to the end.”

The tunnel project is partially funded through a $321 million loan from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, and $140 million through state grants (including $50 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds).

In August, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Director Mike Rolband wrote in support of AlexRenew’s request to amend their timeline.

“Due to unintended and unanticipated delays caused by pandemic related impacts as well as equipment supply issues related to the war in Ukraine, AlexRenew does not have confidence that it will meet the statutory deadline of July 1, 2025,” Rolband wrote. “While DEQ does not have the authority to amend the deadline enacted by the General Assembly in the 2017 CSO law, DEQ fully understands the unexpected delays to the project that AlexRenew is facing and supports any efforts by AlexRenew to seek a legislative solution.”

A delay in the project timeline was noted in an AlexRenew update in July 2023 (via City of Alexandria)

Via Facebook

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U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (center) with Del. Elizabeth Bennett-Parker and State Sen. Adam Ebbin outside Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray on election night, Nov. 7, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

Before heading back down to Richmond in January, Alexandria’s state-level elected officials are hosting a townhall to hear from locals.

State Sen. Adam Ebbin, Del. Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Del. Charniele Herring and Del. Alfonso Lopez are hosting a pre-legislative town hall on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 6:30 p.m. in Alexandria City Hall.

After Virginia Democrats secured a majority in the House of Delegates and the Senate, Bennett-Parker said there’s hope that Alexandria’s state senators and delegates can accomplish more of their goals.

According to Bennett-Parker’s newsletter:

As we get ready for the start of session on January 10th, the General Assembly will be very different. Earlier this month, the voters of Virginia elected a Democratic majority in both the House of Delegates and the Senate. Thanks to redistricting and election results, both chambers are also experiencing significant turnover.

Bennett-Parker noted that the upcoming session will be a “long” one, lasting for 60 days. Bennett-Parker said some of the bills and joint resolutions being considered include:

As introduced, the bills and joint resolutions will: institute a ban on AR-15 style assault firearms and certain ammunition; increase the minimum wage to $15 by January 1, 2026; work to create a constitutional amendment to codify the automatic restoration of voting rights; and work to create a constitutional amendment that will codify abortion access in Virginia.

Attendees to the town hall are asked to register in advance.

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A Metro train headed toward the Van Dorn Metro station (staff photo by James Cullum)

(Updated 9:55 p.m.) Bailing Metro out of its $750 million budget shortfall is going to sting the budgets of localities next year, and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) expects to release a plan addressing it next month.

COG Director Clark Mercer said that the organization’s Chief Administrative Officers (CAO) Committee work group on Metro’s cost structure will release a report next month outlining three options for Metro to consider. One of those options includes a one-time option to use Metro’s preventative maintenance fund against the balance for the next year or two, potentially cutting the shortfall by hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Most transit systems in the country do this on a regular basis,” Mercer told ALXnow. “But what Metro has heard kind of loud and clear is that the region cannot absorb a $750 million bill on top of what they already paid this year. What are some other options? It’s a big, huge mountain to climb.”

Mercer said that Metro CEO Randy Clarke has identified $50 million in ongoing savings from eliminating consultants, as well as nearly $100 million from this year’s budget that will roll over into next year’s budget.

“Just so you know, that fiscal cliff of $750 million, once moving those preventative maintenance dollars up, the next year that cliff is still there,” Mercer said. “It goes down to $300 or $400 million, then up to $750 million again. Those numbers are real.”

Clark Mercer, executive director of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (courtesy of COG)

COG acts as a regional powerhouse, corralling 24 member jurisdictions (with about six million residents) to get on the same page on regional initiatives like transportation planning, affordable housing, law enforcement and environmental sustainability. Last month, COG released a statement in response to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s financial update.

“Our region’s economy and quality of life depend on a reliable, sustainable Metro system,” stated COG Board of Directors Chair Kate Stewart, who is a Montgomery County Councilmember. “State, local, and federal leaders need to prioritize ensuring we avert the fiscal cliff facing the system and work together to find a long-term, sustainable funding solution.”

The CAO work group, which compiled the report and recommendations, is chaired by Alexandria City Manager Jim Parajon.

COG is made up of about 130 employees, and nearly half of them work in transit with the Transportation Planning Board for the region. Additionally, Metro’s budget has to be approved in the organization’s long-term plan to get federal funding.

Mercer said that not funding Metro by next summer would result in a “transit death spiral.”

“You’re not gonna be able to recruit a company to this region without a well-run Metro system,” he said. “One reason Amazon came where they came was because of Metro, and there are a lot of companies like that.”

Mercer continued, “We can say, ‘We don’t want to fund it, and we want a poorly run Metro,’ and that’s a disaster for the region,” Mercer said. “Option one is a transit death spiral.”

In 2018, jurisdictions in the region agreed to cap their funding to Metro to $500 million, and to increase their allocation no more than 3% every year. Now with Metro’s $750 million shortfall, that 3% needs to be re-baselined with Virginia and Maryland state legislators, Mercer said.

“The second option is to look at the way that Metro is funded — from Richmond, Annapolis, the District of Columbia, and the federal government,” Mercer said. “Ask any business person if they want their budget approved every year by four different boards of directors. Funding options needs to be discussed over the next year.”

Without a funding increase from Alexandria and its neighbors, WMATA reported “unprecedented operating deficits” will force it to make drastic cuts to rail, bus, and paratransit services across the region.

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Casting a ballot at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center precinct on election day, Nov. 7, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

About 30% of Alexandria voters are expected to turn out at the polls on election day today, Nov. 7.

As of 10 a.m. — four hours after polls opened — 21,661 voters cast their ballots, which is about 23% of the city’s 96,232 active registered voters. A vast majority of those ballots, 13,927 votes (64%), are from absentee voters. Also as of 10 a.m., 7,734 voters cast their ballots in person, according to the city’s Office of Voter Registration and Elections.

Alexandria Registrar Angie Turner said her office is basing the 30% estimate on the turnouts of the 2015 and 2019 elections, which were both non-presidential and Congressional election years with members of the Virginia General Assembly on the ballot.

“So, 2015 and 2019 are our last comparable elections, and both of those elections hovered right at about 32%,” Turner told ALXnow.

As previously reported, the only contests on the ballot in Alexandria are for the 39th District of the Virginia State Senate and three House of Delegates districts. The City’s solid block of Democratic voters makes the prospect of defeat unlikely.

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-31) is running against Republican Sophia Moshasha for the newly redrawn 39th District and has campaigned that a Republican takeover of the State Senate would result in catastrophe for women’s reproductive rights.

Incumbent Delegates Charniele Herring (D-46) and Elizabeth Bennett-Parker (D-45) are both running unopposed, for the new 4th and 5th Districts. Incumbent Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49), the incumbent Democrat for the 3rd District, is up for re-election and is challenged by independent Major Mike Webb, a frequent candidate for office in Arlington County.

Alexandria Republican Committee Chair Annetta Catchings, who is considering a second run at the city’s mayorship next year, spoke to voters outside Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Central Library, and said that the city has a growing base of Republicans.

“Over the last week I’ve talked to a lot of residents, and it only confirms what I know,” Catchings told ALXnow. “The city of Alexandria isn’t as blue as people think.”

Just after 10 a.m., a Democratic voter started shouting at Catchings.

“You are insane,” the woman told Catchings. “Republicans are against me as a woman, they’re against me as a Black person. How are you supporting Trump? You think Trump likes Black people? You think he supports you?”

Catchings invited the woman to coffee after she voted.

The Alexandria Republican Committee has no formal election night watch party organized. The Alexandria Democratic Committee will host an election night watch party at Pork Barrel BBQ (2312 Mount Vernon Avenue) after polls close at 7 p.m.

Election signs outside Alexandria City Hall on election day, Nov. 7, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)
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