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Posted at 3:47 PM ET, 01/25/2011

Del. Hugo holding up Arlington funding over HOT lanes suit

By Christy Goodman

Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax) is holding up about $1 million in potential tourism dollars for Arlington because of the county's HOT lanes lawsuit, in particular because the county is suing federal and state officials as private citizens, he said.

A bill, sponsored by Del. Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington), which would renew an existing surcharge paid by Arlington hotel guests is sitting in Hugo's finance subcommittee, as was first reported on Not Larry Sabato.

The county has reportedly spent more than $1 million on a federal lawsuit filed in 2009 against both federal and state Departments of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and top officials at the time, including Pierce Homer, a former Virginia secretary of transportation. The suit alleges that the agencies did not fully evaluate the environmental impacts to the communities surrounding the project on I-95/I-395.

"If they have so much money to spend on frivolous, intimidating, abusive lawsuits on private individuals," then they do not need the tax, Hugo said.

He noted that he is sticking up for fellow officials regardless of their party, such as Democrat Homer, and that the lawsuit could chill future public-private initiatives nationwide.

The delegate also has filed three budget amendments that prohibit the state from funding the Columbia Pike streetcar, reduces transportation funding because of delaying the HOT lanes project and requiring an audit of Arlington's road maintenance funding from the state.

"There are serious issues with the HOT lanes project ... and we are hoping they can be resolved," said Chris Zimmerman, chairman of the Arlington County Board, who noted the March 2009 resolutions from the Alexandria City Council and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors that agree with many of Arlington's concerns.

Without the proper studies being done in the project area, "Northern Virginia can find itself in truly intolerable gridlock," he said.

Arlington representatives in Richmond have been discussing the issue with Hugo, said Patricia Carroll, the county's legislative liaison.

"I like to think that even though legislation and budget negotiations are referred to as sausage making, that we can have a discourse like reasonable people and talk about these things," she said.

Action on Brink's bill -- either referred out of committee or tabled for another week -- is slated for Wednesday, she said.

"With the General Assembly, often a day feels like a week. There are many things that could happen," Carroll said. "And we have another 24 hours."

By Christy Goodman  | January 25, 2011; 3:47 PM ET
Categories:  Arlington County, Christy Goodman, Fredrick Kunkle, General Assembly, Transportation  
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That is great! The Idiots have already spent more than a Million of taxpayers money and now we will also get screwed from our State tax money coming back from Richmond!

Who voted these clowns in anyway.
I say let them spend their personal money on a lawsuit instead!
Can we recall these idiots!
Anti business, anti taxpayer, pro illegals!
that really adds up!

I wish great success to Mr. Hugo, we truly have the government we deserve!

Great job Arlingtonians! Your a bright bunch, I hope your proud to live here.
Myself, I live here and I am highly embarassed to say the least!

Posted by: thespecialist1 | January 25, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

It is indeed fortunate that Del. Hugo is willing to stand up to the bullies on the Arlington County Board.

The Arlington lawsuit on I-395 is extraordinarily abusive - making baseless charges of racism, and threatening public officials with personal financial liability.

The County Board and its out-of-control lawyers are suing Obama Administration officials, former Kaine Administration officials, and a career federal civil servant - trying to impose ruinous financial damages on them individually. The Arlington Board's contempt for public officials is appalling.

Moreover, Mr. Zimmerman's comments are highly misleading. In fact, the other local governments in N.Va. have flatly refused to join Arlington's abusive lawsuit.

The County Board's lawsuit has embarrassed all of us who live in Arlington. The Board's cavalier attitude should be condemned, and the County lawyers should be sanctioned for misconduct.

Posted by: jrmil | January 25, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Bravo to Del. Hugo - I support anything that would cut funding to the ridiculous Columbia Pike streetcar project. We don't want the Pike to become another Rosslyn...KILL THE STREETCAR!

Posted by: Lukashenko | January 26, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse


Serves the oppoNUTS in Arlington good and right. Their NIMBY obstructionist insistence on a stripped-down I-66 has inconvenienced the entire NOVA region for decades.

It's logical to conclude that their success in preventing 66 from being built to adequately serve the region has emboldened their efforts to stymie the HOT lane project on 395.

And basing their malicious lawsuit (holding officials and civil servants PERSONALLY liable?!!!) on the premise that the HOT lanes are "racist" and "discriminatory" would be laughable if it weren't so disgusting. Note that other jurisdictions have refused to join Arlington in this madness.

We're talking about the jurisdiction whose "dense and walkable" urban utopia consists nearly entirely of class A office space, high-cost housing, and upscale shopping and dining for the affluent. This is the place that systematically drove out the low-income residents of Arlandia by tearing down affordable apartment complexes and replacing them with $600K townhouses

All of a sudden they're concerned about people who can't afford to drive on HOT lanes?

Yeah, right.

Somehow I don't think those "dedicated representatives of the people of Arlington" would have a problem if some heaviliy-subsidized rail line was being built on 395 - even if the one-way fare from Stafford was $50.00.

Posted by: ceefer66 | January 26, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Why do we want pollution from cars from the suburbs killing our families inside the beltway?

Use a bus or train.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 26, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse


"Why do we want pollution from cars from the suburbs killing our families inside the beltway?

Use a bus or train."

Buses and trains don't go everywhere. You DID know that didn't you, genius?

Besides, peple live/travel WHERE and HOW they want to. I'm certain you know THAT, too.

Now have a happy landing.

Posted by: ceefer66 | January 26, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Hurray for Hugo!

Posted by: lydia15 | February 1, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

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