Arlington again on HOT seat
State budget amendments deliver rebuke about lawsuit
RICHMOND | Arlington County stands to lose $100,000 in road-maintenance funds as reimbursement — or, some would argue, punishment — for a contentious environmental lawsuit county officials filed against the state and the federal government.
House Speaker William J. Howell, Stafford Republican, and state Charles J. Colgan, Prince William Democrat, introduced budget amendments that would withhold the funding and would mark the second time in as many General Assembly sessions that lawmakers in Richmond have targeted the county in response to the lawsuit.
The dispute began when Arlington sued in federal court in August 2009 to block proposed High- Occupancy Toll ( HOT) lanes along Interstate 395, arguing that the federal government and the state did not meet requirements for an exemption that allowed the project to go forward without a full public-health analysis and public review. The lawsuit also argued that the project would worsen air quality in the construction area and disparately impact low-income and minority communities.
Many legislators in Richmond decried the legal action as frivolous, but perhaps its most controversial aspect was that it personally named several individuals, including then-state Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer, who remained a defendant even after he left office in early 2010.
“It is the belief of the commonwealth that it is inappropriate for Arlington County to sue the former secretary in his personal capacity, and that this error was compounded when it failed to dismiss him from the suit when he left office,” the House budget amendment reads.
shroud straw donors to various campaigns — may be their focus.
Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown, a Democrat, and council members Michael A. Brown, at-large independent; Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat; Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat; and Yvette M. Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat, are the other officials whose campaigns have confirmed receipt of a subpoena.
Other elected officials say their
Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell is seeking to make Arlington pay for its efforts that helped kill proposed HOT lanes on Interstate 395.
D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh plans to introduce legislation that would cap contributions in the form of a money order at $25.