Author: Andrew Jenner
After last-ditch effort to fund I-81 improvements this year fails, more study, another report, and lots of divergent opinions await
State Sen. Mark Obenshain went out on a limb with a bill to begin tolling on I-81 to pay for $2.2 billion in much-needed improvements to the interstate . Things didn’t work like he’d hoped, however.
“I’m deeply disappointed,” Obenshain said. “We had a commitment to a process last year, and, frankly, I did a pretty uncomfortable thing of taking the result of that process and carrying that legislation.”
Beneath a political cloud in Richmond, legislators emerged with policy ‘success,’ says Harrisonburg’s delegate
Despite a legislative session that The Washington Post described as “the strangest … in anyone’s memory” amid a trio of scandals in Virginia’s executive branch, Harrisonburg’s state Del. Tony Wilt said it ended up being a “very successful legislative year.”
Keys to stemming rising jail population could be in the numbers. The question now is how to find them.
While the local jail population continues to grow, the record-keeping systems used by law enforcement, the courts and other pieces of the local criminal justice system remain stuck in the past, complicating efforts to understand what’s driving that population growth or to begin addressing it. Within a year, however, new insight into local criminal justice trends could be coming from two different sources.
Strained by overcrowding, Middle River Regional Jail begins planning for expansion
The Middle River Regional Jail Authority took a first step this week toward expanding its overcrowded facility in Verona, by voting unanimously to hire Moseley Architects to conduct a needs assessment for the jail. The move comes as jail officials have warned that overcrowding in the jail is having a ripple effect on both the facilities’ budget and infrastructure.
On I-81 improvements, legislators detour around tax-or-toll decision and opt for more time
Committees in both chambers of the General Assembly on Thursday approved revised versions of bills by Valley legislators that outline $2.2 billion in needed improvements to I-81 but now no longer explain how to pay for them. The new legislation, which Sen. Mark Obenshain called a “pale shadow of its former self,” was meant to keep I-81 in the foreground of public discussions amid continued disagreement over funding methods.
City’s population estimate declines for the first time in more than 40 years
For the first time since Gerald Ford was president, Harrisonburg’s estimated population has decreased – if only ever so slightly. According to figures just released by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center, Harrisonburg’s July 1, 2018 population was an estimated 54,606. That’s 83 fewer people than the July 1, 2017 estimate of 54,689, a decrease of 0.2 percent.
After Obenshain, Landes introduce legislation to begin tolling I-81, truckers gear up in opposition
Now that valley-area legislators introduced companion bills calling for tolls to fund $2.2 billion upgrades to I-81, the plan’s supporters will face staunch opposition led by truckers, who say the proposal will unfairly target them and will cause a ripple effect in the economy.
His last race inspired a law to protect student email addresses. Now Del. Wilt seeks to undo unintended headaches it caused
As the General Assembly gets down to business, Del. Tony Wilt has introduced a bill to undo an inadvertent hassle that one of his bills from 2018 has imposed on Virginia public college campuses.