Virginia 2.0

For the past several months, I’ve been working on a draft paper on land use, energy efficiency and transportation.  I started working on this project after the Assembly passed transportation and energy bills in 2007 that failed to answer the fundamental question ….

What kind of Virginia are we leaving for our children?

I’ve talked with ordinary citizens and leaders in the environmental and business community.  How can our state can succeed economically yet still maintain its natural beauty?  Part of the discussion has dealt with macro-topics like “global warming” and part has dealt with local issues like “Tysons Tunnel.”  

Along the way, I have tried to write a semi-coherent guide for Virginia in the 21st century.  It is a summary and designed to be updated as these issues develop.  It does not explain the nuance of every issue.

“Virginia 2.0″ is the name of the plan.  (I started it off with “Fairfax 2.0″ but there were too many state issues involved so I changed it).  It is on our website at http://www.fairfaxsenator.com/virginia.htm

One of the boldest ideas was the promise of cellulosic ethanol (from Virginia switchgrass) as a domestically-produced alternative fuel.  The idea is that switchgrass can replace tobacco as an agricultural commodity in downstate Virginia and the resulting ethanol can be sold as a “clean fuel” in Northern Virginia, which has dreadful air quality.  Unfortunately, I got scooped by the Washington Post which yesterday carried a front-page Metro article on this very subject. 

There is a tremendous debate about open space, renewable resources and our quality of life.  It’s a debate we must have.  We must find and develop national solutions and it should begin in Virginia. 

I’ve put my ideas out there.  Some are probably good, some are probably bad, and some are probably obvious.  Either way, that’s the Virginia that I’d like to see. 

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