From Your Prince William Chamber 

April 2016

Chamber Advocate,
If you have any questions about legislation or are just generally interested in what we are working on at the Chamber, please get in touch with me by sending an email to I am always happy to discuss!   

Bi-County Parkway
Prince  William  Board of County Supervisors vote to remove road from comprehensive plan 

On Wednesday, February 17, the Prince William County Planning Commission unanimously voted to remove the Bi-County Parkway from the County's comprehensive plan - an action the Virginia Department of Transportation called "inconsistent with good comprehensive planning practice". 

On Tuesday, March 15, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BoCS) voted 4-3 in favor of removing the Bi-County Parkway from the County's Comprehensive Plan.  The BoCS held the vote after stating at their previous meeting that the vote would be delayed until all BoCS members were in attendance.  The local business community reiterated their support for the road and concerns over amending the Comprehensive Plan prior to the vote that evening.
Aaron Tolson, long-time County resident and Director of Operations for Twin Air LLC stressed the importance of a strong transportation network stating, "F or service industry businesses located in Prince William County to remain competitive, we must be able to provide reliable and time-efficient responses to customers - wherever they may be in Northern Virginia. Continuing to develop a strong transportation network is vital if Prince William County wants to attract more businesses."
Prince William County staff did not recommend removing the road from the Comprehensive Plan in their report published online and dated February 26, 2016, citing concerns with both the planning process and impacts on local roads. According to County staff, removing the Bi-County Parkway will have a significant impact on local roads - increasing traffic by up to 600% in some areas over the next several years.    
"Let's not forget what we miss being stuck in traffic - school events, church events, and opportunities to volunteer - events in our lives that can never be replaced," said Traci Morris-Cole, Nokesville resident and Director of Business Development for I-95 Business Parks Management.  "The County owes the people and the businesses a fair, thorough and comprehensive review of all changes to the Comprehensive Plan."
In a letter sent to BoCS members following the vote, the Prince William Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors called in to question the BoCS' support for economic development saying, "The BoCS espouses a consistently pro-business message, but actions speak louder than words.  Members of the BoCS spout platitudes to the business community supporting the growth and development of the private sector, but they have quickly accumulated a record of voting against the priorities that the business community has clearly communicated to the Board as being critical to that very goal."
While the County Board has voted to remove the road from their Comprehensive Plan, the parkway will remain a component of multiple long range transportation plans.  Ultimately the Commonwealth will make a final decision on the road in the coming years.   

McAuliffe-Backed Economic Development Program May Be Doomed 

Washington Post
By: Jenna Portnoy  

Go Virginia, a program at the heart of Gov. Terry McAuliffe's economic development strategy, is on the ropes, after McAuliffe abruptly withdrew his support, and Attorney General Mark R. Herring said late Thursday that the $35 million program probably violates the state constitution.

McAuliffe (D), who sought a ruling on the legality of Go Virginia from Herring (D), will try to amend the legislation that created it, giving lawmakers the option to accept or reject his changes when they return to Richmond this month.

If the General Assembly refuses to go along with the governor, the legislation goes back to the governor, who then has 30 days to decide what to do.

The fast unraveling of Go Virginia is a blow to some of the most powerful figures in Virginia education and business circles, who joined with McAuliffe to devise the strategy last year.

The regional grant program would have shifted power to spend tax dollars from the administration to a board dominated by busi­ness­peo­ple and lawmakers. Herring said the state Supreme Court would probably find the program unconstitutional because it would create an executive-branch board that was not controlled by the executive branch.

Go Virginia was designed to encourage cities and counties to work together to create state-funded programs such as job training and skills certification that will stimulate the local economy. Local residents would lead the effort based on their experiences in the private sector.

PRTC Fares to Rise; Will Prince William Give $6 Million?
By: Potomac Local

The bad news: Bus fares for riders in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park will increase 5% next year.

Also, services like the Capitol Hill OmniRide route will be discontinued, and select trips and some neighborhood OmniRide routing on OmniRide routes will be eliminated. And trips on Manassas-area OmniLink service will be reduced by 25 percent.

The good news: it's not as worse as some county transit officials feared. In January, officials painted a dire picture for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Board of Commissioners, warning that a $9.2 million budget shortfall could end commuter bus service in the county as we know it. Instead of Washington, D.C., buses would take passengers only to Metro stations if the agency couldn't find the operating cash in its 2017 budget.

A proposal from the Prince William County Budget Office provides $6 million to help close the funding gap. It also removes commuter railroad Virginia Railway Express from competing with PRTC for funds.

While the Prince William County Board of Supervisors must approve the funding in April, if it does pass, PRTC will have closed its5 $9.2 million budget gap for the upcoming year.

States PRTC in a press release:
These service cuts, fare increases, and other administrative modifications will result in a net savings to Prince William County of $1.7 million. Those savings, along with the $6 million in proposed funding from the county, would prevent further cuts to PRTC services in FY17, if the county budget is adopted as proposed. However, PRTC would still face a deficit of $2.2 million per year beyond FY17. If adequate funding isn't found, PRTC will be forced to make even more drastic cuts, possibly including eliminating all OmniLink local bus service and operating OmniRide commuter buses only to and from Metro stations.
Prince William County stopped providing supplemental funding to PRTC in 2008. Instead, officials allowed the agency to rely solely on the region's 2.1 percent motor fuels tax surplus reserve for its funding needs. It had built up during previous years when fuel prices topped $4 a gallon.

Learn More About the VRE Gainesville/Haymarket Extension
Community Meeting Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The second community meeting for the Virginia Railway Express Gainesville-Haymarket Extension (VRE GHX) Study will be an opportunity to review and comment on the initial draft alternatives. These alternatives include elements such as station locations and train schedules. Join VRE representatives at the meeting to share your ideas and opinions. More information and feedback opportunities may be found at

Join the Economic Development Committee! 

The Prince William Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that, due to an interest expressed by the Chamber membership, the Economic Development Committee is being reestablished. The mission of the committee will be to provide informative information regarding commercial development projects in our region early in the development process. In addition there will be educational component which will allow the committee members to better understand different aspects of commercial development. When appropriate, the committee will do a "field trip" in lieu of the regular monthly meeting. Gary Jones, II, Vice President, M&T Bank Commercial Division, will serve as Chair of this committee and Brendon Shaw will be the staff liaison.

Meetings will be held on the 2nd Monday of every Monday, 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the Chamber's headquarters office located at 9720 Capital Court, Ste 203, Manassas, 20110. The first meeting will be held on Monday, April 11th. The first meeting will largely serve as a planning meeting establishing the mission and structure for the group.  We will also solicit recommendations from attendees to help us select speakers for the rest of the year.  Mina Croson from Stonewall Title & Escrow, Inc. will be the first presenter for the committee.  She will be discussing ALTA surveys with the group.   

Get Involved
Join Our Next Policy Committee Meeting

The next policy committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 19 at 9:30am at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Headquarters.  The committee typically meets for an hour. 
This month we will continue our discussion over on-going issues pertaining to local government.  The discussion will focus on making recommendations to Chamber members appointed to update Prince William County's Strategic Plan.    

As a reminder, we are continuing to ask that members help to identify areas where we can work together and initiate change on various levels of government. If you are interested in participating please come prepared to address your issue and we will do our best to assist!

I hope you can join us for what is sure to be a productive meeting. 


   Director, Government Relations 


Mark Your Calendar...

Special thanks to Advocacy Vision Partner