Has Supervisor Geary Higgins checked out?

Has Supervisor Geary Higgins checked out?  Geary is now all consumed by his race for Virginia’s 13th District Senate Seat.  Below are some questions for Geary:

Geary, why are there no project updates? 

Geary, why is there still NO project plan?  

Geary, where is the Safety and Operations Study for the northern corridor?  

Geary, why did you terminate the Route 15 Stakeholder Committee?  

Geary, what do you plan to do for Route 15 as a Virginia State Senator?

Remember, Geary said: “I do not want to widen Route 15 any more than I have to.”  Disappearing is one way to achieve this.  Does anyone know where Geary is?


Fix Route 15 Now!

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Why have the roads and schools been ignored in the Catoctin District?

Over the past 5 years Loudoun County had almost $435M in leftover funds – almost a half a billion
dollars!

Where did these funds go?

Did the Catoctin District receive any of these leftover funds for roads and schools?

Does the safety of your families and educational needs of your school-age children matter?

Should the media investigate what happened to all of these leftover monies?

Fiscal Year Leftover Funds Available*
2014 $ 66,634,741
2015 $ 68,935,851
2016 $ 87,662,109
2017 $ 98,085,058
2018 $ 112,927,386
Total $ 434,245,145

*All leftover monies were identified by the auditors in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports.


https://www.loudoun.gov/1476/Comprehensive-Annual-Financial-Reports

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What happened to Route 15’s SmartScale Application (North of Montresor Road)?

Route 15’s SmartScale application requesting $110M for improvements north of Montresor Road  was screened out before it had a chance to be scored.  Here is the application:

2018-Route-15-SmartScale-3593-Application

List of screened out applications:

http://smartscale.org/documents/20190115/1final_screenout_01152018_v4.pdf

Overall Loudoun County projects scored very poorly both within the Northern District and overall against other projects across Virginia.  See the Northern District section (06-01 to 06-39):

http://smartscale.org/documents/20190115/7scorebook2020p.pdf

Thank you to Supervisor Umstattd and Virginia State Delegate LaRock for speaking in front of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) on November 28, 2018 supporting the Route 15 SmartScale Application.  We thank you for your continued leadership!!!

Although the six year Loudoun County Capital Improvement Program (CIP) was presented to the Board of Supervisors on February 13th with a line item for Route 15 improvements from Montresor Road to the Point of Rocks Bridge in the amount of $110M, the majority of funding ($75M) was shown in the out years (beyond six year CIP) .  There is an expectation that State and Federal funding will cover the majority of the project (similar to the NVTA funding that was won for the Route 15 improvements south of Montresor Road).

For more information and additional insight:

See Page 7-26 for “Capital Improvement Program by Function Area – Schedule of Appropriations”

https://www.loudoun.gov/DocumentCenter/View/149150/FY-2020-Proposed-Budget—Volume-Two

See the Virginia SmartScale website:

http://smartscale.org/default.asp

See Loudoun Now article “Loudoun Strikes Out on State Funding” from February 5, 2019:

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Route 15 Safety Improvements from Montresor Road up to Point of Rocks Bridge

Is there any proposed funding for Route 15 (north of Montresor Road) in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) of Loudoun County’s Proposed FY 2020 budget?

The answer is YES!

The Loudoun County Administrator presented his recommended budget last evening, February 13, 2019, with  recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year which begins on July 1, 2019. The budget development process begins with guidance from the Board of Supervisors in the Fall, and more specifically each Board Member’s priorities and requests for their district for inclusion in the County Administrator’s budget presentation in February.

The County Administrator has recommended the funding of another 10 year Route 15 project in the amount of $110M with anticipated completion in FY 2029.

More details to follow on this 7 mile stretch of road that will take 10 years to complete!

See Page 7-26 for “Capital Improvement Program by Function Area – Schedule of Appropriations”

https://www.loudoun.gov/DocumentCenter/View/149150/FY-2020-Proposed-Budget—Volume-Two
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Moving Forward in 2019

Welcome to 2019 and the start of a promising new year!  Now that the holidays are behind us, we at FIX Route 15 Now plan on updating the community with where things stand with respect to actions or inactions on improving the Route 15 Corridor from the Town of Leesburg to the Point of Rocks Bridge.

We will take a deeper dive this year on timelines, funding and legislative issues and their impact on improving the Route 15 Corridor.  We plan to cover over the next few weeks, in summary format, several related topics affecting the safety improvements and congestion relief along Route 15 to include the following:

  • A review of what has been accomplished on Route 15 over the past 2 years.
  • When will the County release Kimley-Horn’s next report on Route 15 (north of Montresor Road)?
  • Is there any interest in continuing the Route 15 Stakeholder Committee?
  • When will the County send monthly progress updates on Route 15?
  • Whatever happened to the $110M VDOT SmartScale road funding request for Route 15 improvements (north of Montresor Road)?  What funds have been allocated in the County’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)?
  • What did the Loudoun elected officials do with the $100M surplus funds from last year?  Were any requests made for Route 15 corridor?
  • When will the Loudoun Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure (DTCI) put out the RFP for Route 15 engineering services to start road widening from Battlefield Parkway to Montresor Road?
  • What have our Loudoun County, State and Federal elected officials done to support Route 15 improvements?
  • Why you should be concerned about the safety improvements along Route 15?

Route 15 safety should be everyone’s concern, don’t you agree? Join the conversation on our Facebook page!

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Another Day, Another Accident

Another day, another Route 15 accident. This time a single vehicle with a utility pole. We are told to “look for alternate routes”, which way? Waterford? West Virginia? Beltway? Helicopter? Ferry (is it open?)?

Our government and elected officials owe us an efficient and safe roadway!

Let us know what you think on our Facebook page.

FINAL UPDATE: Route 15 is open in both directions after utility crews cleared downed utility pole after crash. Expect…

Posted by Loudoun County Sheriff's Office on Monday, January 7, 2019
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Thursday Humor

Just a little Thursday afternoon traffic humor to enjoy on your drive home while you’re parked on Route 15.

https://local.theonion.com/every-driver-in-roundabout-just-winging-it-1827804131
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November CTB Meeting

On Wednesday November 28, 2018 the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) held a public meeting to discuss the future of Route 15. Part of this discussion involved public input on the potential for over $110 million dollars to be allocated to Route 15 improvements north of Montresor Road. Most of the public was unaware that this meeting was taking place due to Supervisor Higgins’s office making the outrageous decision to send out a general notice less than 24 hours beforehand. However, the no-growther groups that oppose improving Route 15 were informed much earlier, seem to have nothing better to do, and therefore were the main voices heard at the meeting despite public opinion polls showing more than 80% in favor of expanding the road. They argued at the meeting that residents were not involved and that the money is not needed which are complete lies. Only a few voices were able speak in favor of the funding, likely due to the late notice.

The lack of ability for normal citizens to show up to all these events due to family and work obligations is why we have elected officials to handle government business on our behalf. However, despite the overwhelming majority of his constituents demanding a realistic fix to this road, Supervisor Higgins did not even bother to show up to this meeting to speak on behalf of his district. On top of this, it has been six (6) months since funding was approved for widening Route 15 up to Montresor Road and Supervisor Higgins has STILL not submitted a project plan nor done anything to accelerate the project. It is in limbo until he gets off his rear end and actually does something other than talk. We find this to be a severe case of dereliction of duty and question why Supervisor Higgins does not just resign his position if he cannot do very basic steps to move projects forward or even bother to show up at meetings he feels are important enough to send public notices about. His continued delays with moving Route 15 forward are very purposeful and against the wishes of his constituency. If he cannot do his job, it is time for someone else to take over.

In addition, Supervisor Higgins failure to show up and advocate for funding of $110M for the widening and safety improvements from Montresor Road up to the Point of Rocks may send the wrong message to the Commonwealth Transportation Board Commissioners that this is NOT a priority since Supervisor Higgins was nowhere to be seen nor heard.
The CTB is taking public comments via email through December 13. Please take 5 minutes of your time and write to six-yearprogram@vdot.virginia.gov. Let them know that you support improvements to Route 15 and want these improvements to happen ASAP.

Also, Supervisor Higgins can be reached at geary.higgins@loudoun.gov. Let him know how you feel about his continued dereliction of duty, lack of leadership, and failure to put forward a project plan while sitting on $79M in approved funding..

We’ll see if he bothers to read and answer your email.
FIX ROUTE 15 NOW!!!

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The Rural Summit – To Be or Not To Be?

On Friday, November 16, 2018. Loudoun County Chair Phyliss Randall will be conducting an all-day event billed as the Rural Summit at the Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg – the first rural summit since taking office January 1, 2016 with the new Board.

But this summit is not sitting well with the “Western” Supervisors Geary Higgins (Catoctin District) and Tony Buffington (Blue Ridge District).

“In the past two terms, my office in conjunction with the Blue Ridge office has sponsored three rural summits, and at each one of those summits we invited the chair or chairwoman to participate and speak at those rural summits,” Higgins said.

Higgins goes on to state that he was concerned that he and Buffington were invited to attend, but not participate. And, he pointed out, the person emceeing the event, Tia Walbridge, has declared she will run against Buffington in the 2019 election. NOTE: (After creation of this story, Ms. Walbridge announced her decision not to attend the event)

“It does appear, unfortunately, to have become a political event, and I think it’s unfortunate, because we’re missing a real opportunity where we could have made progress on some of these issues in western Loudoun County,” Buffington said.

The Rural Summit is also being organized using Randall’s office budget, which Higgins said may be an ethics violation.

So, what is actually happening here?  Is it petty whining by the Western Supervisors, who have not held any rural summits this term?  Will Supervisors Higgins and Buffington be taking some decisive action or are they merely going to continue to criticize others who are trying to get something done?  How can they both criticize Chair Randall without putting forward an alternative proposal for the Rural Summit?  Is this just another example of local resistance by two supervisors who are just not equipped to conduct county business in a timely manner because of the demands of their outside employment which is hindering their ability to represent their rural constituents?

It seems to us that maybe Chair Randall is tired of waiting for Supervisor Higgins to take action on the myriad of projects he seems to start but never follow up on. Whether you agree with the summit or not at least Randall is making an effort to do “something” for her constituents unlike Higgins who has let the Route 15 project drag on and on with no BEGINNING in sight. 5 months after funding approval and STILL no project plan from his office, yet he seems to have plenty of time to play political games with other supervisors who have been supportive of 15 improvements!

The Rural Summit will be addressing schools and transportation – in addition to the property rights of the farming community.  Why are these two supervisors not dealing with these pressing issues on their own rather than casting stones at Chair Randall who has initiated this summit?

Make no mistake, the continued delay of the start of the Route 15 widening project is a calculated decision by Supervisor Higgins who believes that if he delays long enough the community will forget about the whole thing and he can blame outside forces for losing the NVTA money which will be reallocated to other projects if not utilized here. It seems other Supervisors have finally caught on to his game and are taking matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, only Supervisor Higgins can move Route 15 improvements forward by producing a project plan. We urge you to contact his office and demand that he do so immediately.

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Final Route 15 Stakeholders Committee Meeting

At the October 22, 2018 Route 15 Stakeholder Committee Meeting it was announced by Supervisor Geary Higgins that this would be the last Route 15 Stakeholder Committee meeting!  Mind you, not one piece of asphalt has been added to widen the Route 15 roadway.  It was announced that there may be a “task force” convened to oversee the Route 15 design.  It was not defined who or what expertise would be sought after.   Would this be a task force of “special interest no growthers”?  If so, than this process has been rigged with a pre-determined outcome!

Although some insight on what will occur in the next six months regarding surveying the 3.5 miles from Battlefield Parkway to Montresor Road, a project calendar still does not exist.

https://www.loudoun.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/8232

Does Geary Higgins have an intent to FIX Route 15 NOW?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In other news:

Several statements were made and questions raised by the stakeholders, most notably the representative from the Catoctin Coalition stated that Supervisor Higgins reneged on his promise made at the July 16, 2018 Route 15 Stakeholder Meeting that his office would send out mailings to those homeowners of the then upcoming “public input” session on September 26, 2018.  Supervisor Higgins disagreed, his chief of staff stated that mailings were sent out regarding the session.  The Catoctin Coalition representative wanted proof and asked for the zip code mailings which would be made available.

The Catoctin Coalition representative had earlier made the declarative statement that the Little Springs homeowners along the section of road north of the King Street merge and between Tutt Lane were not included in the design of the road enhancements and modifications.  Supervisor Higgins pointed out that was not the case and in fact the 1 homeowner affected by the design was in attendance and was satisfied with the impact around his property.

The Catoctin Coalition representative also asked if water testing would be conducted to make sure that sinkholes don’t form and private water wells are not contaminated and county staff said environmental concerns will be accounted for.

The Selma Estates representative asked if there was any analysis conducted between a roundabout and a traffic signal at the proposed realigned intersection of Montresor Road and Limestone School Road?  The answer from Mr. Joe Kroboth, the Director of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure was “NO, the consultants only analyzed a roundabout in their traffic analysis – NOT a traffic light.  The follow-up question by the stakeholder representative was “why was there not any comparative analysis between a roundabout and a traffic light?”  There was silence by the county staff, the consultants and Supervisor Higgins and his chief of staff, Ms. Carey.  It should be noted that the “special interest no growthers” have all along insisted on roundabouts at ALL intersections regardless of the traffic engineering fact that VDOT does not support 2 lane roundabouts and a single lane roundabout will fail at this section of the corridor because of the high volume.

The Selma Estates representative asked if there were any plans to include a new project for the safety improvements north of Montresor Road to include the Western (or Eastern) bypass around Lucketts in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget currently being developed to take effect on July 1st, 2018, the start of the new fiscal year.  After much consternation among staff, Supervisor Higgins agreed that this project would be included in the budget.

The Lucketts Business Collaborative representative enquired as to whether the design for the widening would take into account safe entry and exiting around the businesses located along Route 15.  Mr. Kroboth and county staff answered affirmatively that those safety considerations would be part of the design features so as to not bring any harm, bodily, economic or otherwise to those businesses along the corridor.

The Lucketts Business Collaborative representative was also recognized by Supervisor Higgins as a recent Loudoun County Winery award winner for his vineyard’s wine.  The roomful of folks enthusiastically applauded this recognition of distinction.  It should be noted that there was no free wine flowing in the goblets of the stakeholders to joyously share any of vineyard’s bounty….

Finally, results from the recent online survey regarding concepts for Route 15 north of Montresor road were presented. 70% of the 1,043 responses favored “Concept B” which continues the 4 lanes with medians further north of Montresor Road with a Lucketts bypass. Over and over again these surveys continue to show community support for what past roadway studies have shown to be proper solutions to Route 15’s safety and congestion issues: 4 lanes with medians and fully paved shoulders. Its clear that the no growth group’s claims that citizens want a “traffic calming” or “alternative solution” are not true. More details regarding the survey and public input can be found here: https://www.loudoun.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/8233

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