Delegate Bulova Images
Focus on Fairfax Newsletter of Delegate David Bulova
March 2007

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last week, the 2007 General Assembly Session came to a close, which is known as sine die. The days leading up to sine die get progressively longer as the committees finish their work and send their bills to the House floor. While there is always plenty of serious discussion, every once in a while we do have some fun. A case in point was a bill for a special commemorative license plate introduced by Delegate Johnny Joannou of Portsmouth. Without his knowledge, the Senate passed a substitute to the bill that replaced his language with a special license plate for supporters of the Virginia Championship Hare Scramble Series. Poor Delegate Joannou didn’t realize the joke until the last minute – but he took it in stride.

The debate over transportation dominated the final days of the Session, which culminated in the narrow passage of HB3202. The papers have covered this topic very well, but I wanted to share with you my perspective. As you probably know, I voted for HB3202. This was a tough vote. In all sincerity, I fell back on my gut instinct for what was best for Virginia and our community and what I was hearing from the many residents who took the time to express their feelings about this issue.

Under normal circumstances, HB3202 should have been several different bills. HB3202 deals with land use, bonding, regional self-help plans, and State-wide revenue. There is just about something for everyone to dislike about this bill. It makes limited progress towards meeting our long-term needs, and I am not a big fan of the bonding provisions. Yet, it represents a step forward. The question came down to whether to wait for a perfect bill that may never come, or whether to get started now so that we can begin the process of investing in our transportation network. For each year that we don’t get started, our maintenance program falls further and further behind. For each year that we don’t get started, capital improvements become more expensive.

The Northern Virginia component of the plan has the potential to generate more than $400 million for local and regional road projects. I have heard many concerns over why Northern Virginians should have to pay even more for roads, when we already receive relatively little back from the State. While I will continue to fight to get our fair share from State taxes, I fear that it will be a long time before we can successfully address the existing funding formulas. The bill that passed protects what we already get (that is, we won't get less from the State share), and allows us to keep 100% of what we raise here. No State-wide solution (which would go through the existing formula) can promise that. The unfortunate part of the Northern Virginia plan is that it places a lot of the onus on local governments to make the final decision. I give enormous credit to the leadership in both Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax. Currently, they are working with our regional partners to recommend amendments to HB3202 in order to make it work better for Northern Virginia. In the end, HB3202 is only worth supporting if our localities are willing to support and implement it.

On April 4th, we will reconvene in Richmond to consider any amendments that the Governor may propose. I encourage everyone to share their thoughts with me on this issue – both pro and con.

Apart from transportation, action was taken on numerous important bills during the final days of the Session. Eminent domain reform (HB2954 and SB1296) was passed this year to ensure that a taking can only be done for public purposes or to remove blight. Also passed was legislation to prohibit cell phone use by those under the age of 18 while operating a motor vehicle except for emergency situations (SB1039). Several other high profile initiatives didn’t fare as well. An effort to expand off-track betting as a way to generate funding for roads (HB2626) failed. HB2626 actually passed, but without the “Racing for Roads” provisions.

One of the more frustrating ways for legislation to fail is for it to die in conference committee. For example, both the House and the Senate passed their own versions of a Transportation Lock Box (SJ373 and HJ18). This is a Constitutional amendment to ensure that the Transportation Trust Fund is not raided as it has been in the past – a very important issue as we consider how to raise additional revenue for transportation. When there are disagreements between the House and the Senate on a bill, a conference committee of three House members and three Senate members is appointed to work out the differences. However, it is not always possible for the conferees to agree on a solution in a short period of time – so the measure dies. This is what happened to the Transportation Lock Box. In the meanwhile, the transportation bill that passed the General Assembly and is now being considered by the Governor (HB3202) has a reversion clause that makes the revenue increases null and void if the funding is directed to anything but transportation.

A similar fate happened to Payday Lending Reform (SB1014). Payday lending is the practice of providing small, short term loans – but at a comparatively high fee compared to a bank or credit union. The battle this year was between those who wanted to reform the system (seeing it as a valuable financial tool for some, while wanting to protect those who get caught in a cycle of debt) and those who wanted to eliminate payday lending altogether (seeing it as predatory lending and genuinely unfixable). While I am no fan of payday lending, the bill left standing after committee action was for payday lending reform. Given the choice of all or nothing, I was hoping for the reform. However, the conference committee members were unable to agree on a course of action, and the measure died for the year.

It is wonderful to be back in Fairfax, and I hope that I will get to see many of you over the next few months as the weather warms up. Finally, congratulations to the City of Fairfax on the dedication of a beautiful new Police Department facility on Old Lee Highway this past weekend. Congratulations also to the ARC of Northern Virginia, which opened a wonderful new office in Falls Church. The ARC works on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. I am proud that the president of the ARC, Ray Burmester, is a resident of the 37th District.


David Bulova

Websolutions by

Delegate David Bulova

Please contact
Delegate Bulova at ...

Fairfax Office
9900 Main Street,
Plaza 102
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 310-6752
[email protected]

Richmond Office (During General Assembly Session)
Capitol Square, General Assembly Building
Room 405
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 698-1037
[email protected]

Quick Links...


About David

37th District


Upcoming Events


Contact Us

phone: 703-310-6752