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DATA Celebrates 30 Years of Transportation Leadership

In 1986, “Top Gun” flew right into the danger zone, Halley’s Comet streaked our solar system, and “DA Bears” won the Super Bowl.

Which makes 2016 the year we celebrated a Tomcat dogfight, a celestial bright light, awesome gridiron might and DATA’s 30th Anniversary night!

0694 DATA 0428 (c) 2016 David Galen

DATA President John Martin (left) and Executive Director Jim Larsen congratulate 2016 Founder’s Award winner Dave Gehr (center). (c) 2016 David Galen.

DATA President John Martin and Executive Director Jim Larsen welcomed elected officials, business leaders, and transportation professionals to the Dulles Area Transportation Association 30th Anniversary Celebration and Awards Ceremony, held April 28 at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel.  Joining DATA’s keynote speaker J. Douglas Koelemay (Director of Virginia Office of Public-Private Partnerships) in addressing attendees was popular Washington Post columnist Robert Thomson, “Dr. Gridlock.”

David R. Gehr, Senior Vice President, Highway Market Leader/Virginia Business Manager, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, was recognized as the fourteenth recipient
of the Dr. Sidney Steel Founder’s Award for Transportation Leadership.

The Metropolitan Wash-ington Airports Authority’s State and Local Government Affairs Manager Michael Cooper received the President’s Award for Career Achievement.

The evening culminated with the presentation of the DATAs, the Dulles Area Transportation Association’s version of the Oscars, to Business Partner Bill Keech, Jr., President of the Westfields Business Owner Association and Trans-portation Professional Tom Biesiadny, Director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.


Washingtonians Embrace Public Transportation and Want To Pay For Better Services

A survey of residents in the greater Washington, D.C. region demonstrates what most of us already knew – Washingtonians utilize a lot of public transportation and would like to see AND pay for better services.  The survey, conducted in May by WBA Research, a Crofton Maryland based firm, looked into public transportation use and support, views on road maintenance, use of new transportation oriented apps and airport usage.  This article will explore the finding of public transportation use; subsequent articles will address other findings in the report.


In summary the survey found that:

Three-fourths (75%) of all Washington, DC area residents have either used public transportation in the past month (47%) or are likely to consider doing so in the future (28%).

Satisfaction with the region’s transportation system shows room for improvement. Only 29% of area residents are satisfied (rated 8-10 on a 0-10 scale), while 52% gave more neutral ratings.

Support for increased government funding of public transportation is high—78% of Washington, DC area residents say they would be very or somewhat likely to support an increase. Support is most pronounced among District of Columbia residents (58% very likely to support vs. 28%-38% of suburban residents). And, while it might not be surprising that transit users are more likely than non-users to be very likely to support increased public transportation funding (50% vs. 24%), even the majority of non-users (72%) would at least be somewhat likely to support an increase.

Maintaining existing roads and bridges (82% rated 8-10), as well as reducing traffic congestion by improving public transportation (73% rated 8-10), are rated as the most important types of projects in which the region could invest.


These findings are notable, considering some of the problems that have faced the METRO rail system recently.  In short, residents/commuters use METRO a lot (as well as METRO bus service) and they are willing to pay more to improve services.  When asked “Which public transportation services have you used in the past month?” survey respondents indicated that “Close to one-half of the Washington, DC area residents surveyed have used any of the region’s public transportation services in the past month, most often citing Metrorail.” Source: WBA Research

Graph 1_Public Transp UseWhen asked how likely they are to use public transportation in the future, the survey found “More than one-half of those who have not used public transportation in the past month (55%) say they are likely to consider doing so in the future. This proportion is almost twice as high among 18-34 year olds as compared to those age 55 and older.”  Source: WBA Research

Graph 2_Future Use

A high level of usage doesn’t necessarily mean that users are satisfied with the services.  The reports notes that “Nearly three in ten Washington, DC area residents are satisfied with the region’s transportation system. More than one-half, however, gave more neutral ratings.”  Note that this survey was conducted prior to SafeTrak and the current Safety Surges.

Source: WBA Research


Graph 3 - Satisfaction

Perhaps the general disappointment in the quality of services has, or can be translated into support for increasing funding for public transportation.  Over 75% of the respondents support increased federal, state and local funding.  In short, the report states “Overall, more than three-fourths of Washington, DC area residents would be very or somewhat likely to support increased government funding for public transportation.”  Source: WBA Research

Graph 4 - Funding Support


In fact, almost six in ten District of Columbia residents say they would be very likely to support such funding. Likewise, those who have used the area’s public transportation in the past month are significantly more likely than non-users to say they would be very likely to support increased public transportation funding. Still, more than seven in ten non-users would be at least somewhat likely to support an increase.”  Source: WBA Research

Graph 5 - Transp Improvments

 Lastly, respondents do want the region’s leaders to figure out how to reduce congestion both through new roads and road maintenance, but also improving public transportation services.  The report notes “Maintaining existing roads and bridges, as well as reducing traffic congestion by improving public transportation, are rated as the most important types of projects that the region could invest in.”




41st Annual Virginia Wine Festival®

Virginiaís Longest Running Wine Festival is Back at Bull Run Park!

TasteUSA and The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA) will present the 41st Annual Virginia Wine Festival® for two days, rain or shine, Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th at Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, Virginia. The beautiful outdoor venue will be transformed into an entertaining array filled with more than 40 wineries from across Virginia with truly world-class Virginia wines, the best food trucks and food vendors, fine crafts, plus live music performances, and something completely new to the Festival this year – the Virginia Oyster Pavilion, an epic experience where Virginia’s succulent briny bi-valves can be sucked down with your choice of Virginia wines or Virginia craft beers!

Attracting more than 10,000 attendees over two days, the 2016 Virginia Wine shutterstock_106345793Festival® is open from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. both days with early access at 11 a.m. for VIP ticket purchasers, all at Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, Virginia 20121. Tickets start at $29 for General Admission which includes unlimited wine sampling from over 40 wineries. VIP tickets are $59 which includes early access, private tent, private bathrooms and the Reserve Wine Tasting each day from 1-4 pm, a chance to be seated and have an expert speaker cover the nuances of Virginia’s award-winning rare wine examples. Parking is free.

More information and tickets can be purchased at, or find more information  on facebook at, on Twitter  at

TasteUSA is the U.S.’s premier site for consumers who love food and drink events – if it’s taste, it’s listed. Visit for more information.

The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA) is one of the oldest wine organizations located on the East Coast. Established in 1973 as the Vinifera Wine Growers Association (VWGA), it was an early supporter of planting world-class Vinifera wine grapes, the production of quality commercial wines, and the building of a wine industry along the Eastern seaboard. Today, the ASWA is a national and international wine trade association that works with state and national legislatures to resolve issues that challenge the U.S. wine.


“1776 – Breaking News: Independence” Open at the Newseum

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress — made up of delegates from all 13 Colonies — adopted the Declaration of Independence. Two days later, The Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first newspaper to publish the Declaration. On display in this compelling exhibit is one of only 19 known copies of the historic newspaper. This rare printing shows the declaration as Americans first saw it — as front-page news.

Interactive kiosks in the exhibit allow visitors to zoom in and explore the newspaper 1776 LOGO STACKEDin high-definition, while graphic novel-style illustrations in the gallery tell the story of how and why delegates from the 13 American Colonies gathered in Philadelphia to break the bonds of British rule and forge a new nation. Some of the most tumultuous and trying chapters in American history are highlighted, including the Stamp Act, the Boston Tea Party and news of war erupting from the battles of Lexington and Concord. A Newseum-produced video, presented as a documentary graphic novel, features original animated illustrations and interviews with media figures such as Sebastian Junger and S.E. Cupp.

As the United States celebrates the 240th anniversary of its independence from Great Britain, the exhibit explores how news of freedom spread through the Colonies and abroad and played a crucial role in uniting American colonists behind the cause
of independence.

Don’t miss the Newseum’s Summer Fun Deal where up to four kids can visit for free with each paid adult or senior admission – now through Labor Day!


Trail Spotlight: The High Bridge Trail State Park

Looking for a get away to do some biking or hiking?  The High Bridge Trail, near

Photo courtesy of Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Photo courtesy of Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Farmville, Virginia is a great destination.  The 31-mile State Park (Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation managed) and trail is a converted rail bed that is generally level and wide, and has a crush stone surface.  The trail’s centerpiece is the High Bridge that crosses the Appomattox River.  The 2,400 foot bridge is one of the longest in the United States, and rises 125 feet above the river gorge.  High Bridge, a Virginia Historic Landmark, is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

There is parking at either end of the trail as well as along the route, such as in Farmville.  The trail has numerous, well maintained restroom facilities, picnic areas and water stops.  Farmville also offers numerous venues for lunch and lodging.  For more information visit

Spotlight is an occasional column that will highlight both local and non-local recreational trails.