City hears of fed funding

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You dont always get what you ask for, so this year its back to the table for U.S. Representative James Moran (D-8th), as he seeks federal funding for projects earmarked for Alexandria. A year ago, federal appropriations went to cover national defense. Moran told City Council recently hes optimistic some local funding will be available, although it may be limited, said Moran.

Each year, the Alexandria City Council meets with Moran to request federal money for city projects. In the past, those meetings have taken place over coffee and pastries, early in the morning, with few members of the public attending. This year, Mayor William Euille invited the congressman to City Council chambers so that those in attendance and those watching on television could hear the discussion.

Since 2000, Moran has obtained $35 million in funding for 41 city projects. The city requested federal funding for projects in six categories: public safety, human services, transit, environmental, historic preservation and gang prevention.

Public safety has to be one of our highest priorities, Euille said. We need to upgrade our police radios or we are going to lose interoperability with other jurisdictions. Also, we are asking for some additional crime fighting technology.

The new radios will cost $3.6 million and the technology, just over $200,000. The city also needs a new emergency generator for the Public Safety Center costing $800,000.

Moran told council that he would look at the radio and technology requests but, We arent going to ask for funding for a new emergency generator for the Public Safety Center. You will have to find that money somewhere else.

Last year Moran requested $1 million in funding for the Automobile Training Institute of Alexandria. He made the same request this year. This is an excellent program and has the support of all of the automobile dealers. It will provide job training for many people, he said.

The city also asked for additional funding for child care. Were not asking for special funding in the form of an earmark but hope that Congress will increase funding in general for child care, which was cut because of changes in federal guidelines, said Bernard Caton, the citys legislative director.

Moran agreed to support a request for funding for repairs to the womens shelter at $160,000 and $200,000 for the Alexandria Seaport Foundation. The shelter needs a new roof and some other work and the Seaport Foundation has a proven track record working with young adults who are on probation, Moran said.

Council requested funding for bus rapid transit at Potomac Yard. We need to connect Potomac Yard with Metro in Alexandria and in Arlington, Euille said. Moran has asked for $1 million to support this project.

The Four Mile Run master plan has received substantial federal support in the past and Moran hopes that will continue, as do many members of Council. This is a real legacy project and needs to continue moving forward, said Councilman Rob Krupicka.

Vice Mayor Andrew Macdonald added his voice to those supporting funding for trails. This doesnt have to be done right now, but we need to look at the trails by Hunting Towers and connecting to the Mt. Vernon trail, he said.

The Jones Point Lighthouse needs to be restored and needs an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible entrance. The cost, $165,000, includes an interpretive exhibit. We will try and get some money for the lighthouse but our real focus at Jones Point is to make certain that the National Park Service doesnt approve a plan that is different from the one passed by City Council. I have made it clear to the new director that I will do everything in my power to oppose any plan that doesnt keep that in mind, Moran said. We need to get that project back on track.

The draft environmental assessment has been under consideration by the National Park Service (NPS) since the fall but has not been released. Initial indication was that NPS preferred a plan that was markedly different from the plan that City Council has approved twice, once in 2003 and again in 2005.

Regionally, Moran agreed to support a request for funding for gang prevention and suppression activities. Current funding ends on Sept. 30. Im not certain we will have passed an appropriations bill by then but we are going to do our best, he said.

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