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Safeway near the Bradlee Shopping Center (photo via Google Maps)

(Updated 8 p.m.) Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is scheduled to visit an Alexandria Safeway (3526 King Street) today to discuss efforts the Governor’s office said aims to reduce the cost of living.

“Governor Glenn Youngkin will visit a grocery store in Alexandria, Virginia today,” Youngkin’s office said in a press release. “The governor will discuss the elimination of the grocery tax, the rising costs of groceries, and the impacts of inflation on Virginia families and the high cost of living.”

Virginia collects $500 million in grocery taxes, but the tax has been unpopular with both Democrats and Republicans, with both Youngkin and last year’s Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe expressing support for eliminating the tax.

Youngkin will participate in a roundtable discussion with parents and tour the store at noon.

Photo via Google Maps

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Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office announced a new batch of flood prevention grants, and this time around Alexandria’s getting more than the pocket change it did the last time around.

Two Alexandria projects were featured in the new round of funding, with one project design, in particular, getting a major boost.

The state is allocating $3.2 million to Waterfront Improvement Project design. The city has been working through various potential designs for flood mitigation along the waterfront, but leadership balked at the cost and sent plans back to the drawing board. Even the least expensive option came in at an estimated $90 million for flood mitigation alone.

The state’s $3 million is allocated toward design, which the Waterfront Commission said will have to incorporate more elements of the waterfront plan beyond just flooding mitigation. Earlier plans for waterfront flood mitigation were also noted as doing little to prevent tidal flooding, such as the one in October that shut down several blocks of Old Town.

The city is also getting some funding for flood mitigation in Arlandria. The state allocated $516,500 for the Edison Street and Dale Street capacity project, which aims to help with flood mitigation near the Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology.

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Morning Notes

Mayoral candidates engage in public forum — “Alexandria’s mayoral candidates gathered in a virtual forum on Saturday, kicking into high gear to get their message out ahead of the Nov. 2 general election.” [Alexandria Times]

Amazon backs grant program to spur affordable development near D.C.-area transit — “Amazon will fund a new grant program to help local governments and nonprofit developers pursue affordable projects near transit stations, directing $500,000 of its recently announced $2 billion Housing Equity Fund to this effort.” [Washington Business Journal]

Local group plans Four Mile Run clean-up — “Join us Sat., Oct. 23 for cleanup at Four Mile Run Park from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to celebrate the Clean Virginia Waterways and Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.” [Twitter]

Alexandria kid goes viral for love of fire department — “Alotta yuck these days… Please enjoy the delight of my three year old spotting a fire truck. @AlexandriaVAFD, meet your biggest fan!” [Twitter]

D.C. didn’t ask Northam and Hogan to help crack down on ticket scofflaws, despite initial claims it did — “D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser never reached out to the governors of Virginia and Maryland to negotiate reciprocity for automated traffic camera tickets, despite a District government report — signed by the mayor and submitted to the D.C. Council last week — saying that said she did.” [DCist]

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Electric DASH bus, photo via DASH/Facebook

The city’s DASH bus network recently went fare-free, and the city is looking for more funding from the state to help it stay that way.

An item at the upcoming Tuesday, Sept. 14, City Council meeting includes an application to the Transit Ridership Incentive Program (TRIP) to help finance the city’s free bus ridership program.

The application has already been supported by the DASH Board of Directors. According to the docket item, the city is planning to submit an application of funds up to $8 million over the next four years. In the report, city staff said they expect to be awarded a maximum of $7.2 million through TRIP with the city committing $9.83 million in local funding between FY 2023 and FY 2025 to operate DASH fare-free, in addition to $1.47 committed in FY 2022.

The city isn’t alone in this. The application notes that $12.5 million in TRIP funding goes to subsidized fare or zero fare programs.

Photo via DASH/Facebook

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Photo courtesy Michael Longmire/Unsplash

Alexandria will likely be getting an influx of funding from a statewide opioids settlement, but how much and where exactly that funding will be going remains to be determined.

The City Council met last night for a special session — interrupting the brief summer break due to the need to have a decision the city should join the Virginia Opioid Abatement Fund and Settlement Allocation Memorandum.

City attorney Joanna Anderson said the city previously filed litigation opioid companies and the decision is likely coming to a settlement at a statewide level.

Anderson also said the precautions are being taken at a state and local level to handle distribution of funding from settlements better than in the past.

“We’re having discussions with Attorney General’s office,” Anderson said. “We think this is a fair way for funds to come down. [This will be] handled better than previous settlements, like tobacco settlement. This agreement represents localities better. We think this is a fair process to do this.”

City Manager Mark Jinks said that currently it is unknown how much money the city will get and where that funding is going once it gets here.

“At this point, there’s been no decision on how to allocate funds,” Jinks said. “That will probably be part of annual budget process. It doesn’t have to be allocated to any one organization. We have an opioid work group and coordinator… and we will be looking for what’s the best application of money — at what’s the highest need.”

Photo courtesy Michael Longmire/Unsplash

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