City Council broke bread and discussed issues pertinent to Manassas Park with state lawmakers during the city’s annual legislative dinner on Tuesday at the Manassas Park Community Center.
Long-time Virginia Sen. Charles “Chuck” Colgan of the 29th district was in attendance along with Del. Bob Marshall R-13 who officially began representing Manassas Park after defeating Democratic candidate Carl Genthner in the November House of Delegates race.
Marshall attended the legislative dinner for the first time because of this year’s redistricting. Manassas Park was represented by Del. Jackson Miller before the changes took place.
Council created a list comprised of five legislative priorities to be considered when lawmakers reconvene in Richmond in 2012. At the top of that list is improving traffic flow on Route 28 between Manassas and Interstate 66.
It takes him anywhere from an hour and 30 minutes to two hours to get to work in Rosslyn from Manassas Park, Mayor Frank Jones told the two lawmakers.
One of the immediate things the city wants is the creation of a bus lane for commuters.
Local lawmakers can work on creating parking for bus riders and making it legal for the buses to have HOV capabilities, Jones said.
Council also called for immediate improvements using the highways's existing right-of-way, such as adding a lane at the Bull Run Bridge as well as reversible and HOV transit lanes to encourage people to use mass transit.
The body also asked that a traffic study should be conducted along Route 28 and that the road be added back to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Six Year Plan.
Colgan and Marshall were urged by the city council to oppose restrictions on local government land use authority, such as restrictions on conditional zoning, proffers and impact fees.
City council also asked that $60 million in yearly funds that were cut from the state budget be restored, so that full funding can be provided for constitutional officers, such as the Voter Registrar and support staff.
The $60 million reduction pushes the burden on the localities, Jones said. Restoring the funds would mean more staffing for the city. Right now, city officials are so short handed that they have to cut down on their customer service hours, just so they can take care of other responsibilities, he added.
The governing body also asked Colgan and Marshall to:
- Oppose new mandates that are not fully funded
- Oppose restrictions on the abilities of local elected official to raise revenue to pay for local government services
- Oppose restrictions on local government land use authority, including restrictions on conditional zoning, proffers and impact fees. City council also asked that the lawmakers oppose eminent domain procedures that would increase taxpayer cost to build road and other infrastructure.