Job Creation and Nursing Home Reform Become Legislative Wins For Luke Torian

Abby Rodgers
Virginia State House News
Published: February 11, 2011

Delegate Luke Torian just won’t give up on his desire to extend the D.C. Metrorail to Manassas.

Since being elected to the House of Delegates in 2010, the Prince William County Democrat has twice tried to get the proposed extension funded. His bill died in the House Transportation Committee this session.

The bill, which made up part of Torian’s legislative agenda for the 2011 session, was among his top priorities and one of several pieces of legislation he has introduced in his first term.

Lawmakers are midway through the General Assembly session that has been less contentious than last year. Legislators aren’t facing cutting billions of dollars from state programs and agencies. Instead, they have focused on transportation, stimulating job growth, watershed protection, foreclosure problems and illegal immigration.

Torian’s bill would have funded an extension of the Metrorail’s Torian wants to extend the Blue Line from Franconia/Springfield.

“I think in the years to come, we need to have Metro accessibility to Prince William County,” he said.

Torian said he wants to form a committee comprised of people with a stake in bringing the Metro to Prince William County. The committee, he said, would study the viability of the issue, giving him reason to reintroduce his bill next session.

“It can be a long, arduous process,” he said.

While he said the session has progressed rather quickly, Torian said he’s been pleased with the legislation he sponsored. That includes 13 bills introduced this session, two of which cleared the House and were sent to the Senate.

Torian also co-patroned three bills, which were rolled into different legislation.

One of the bills he co-patroned requires nursing homes and nursing facilities to notify each residents’ contact person of the facility’s family council. The state Board of Health would oversee compliance. The bill was patroned by Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington County.

Another of Torian’s proposals would broaden the criteria to award state grants for technology projects as an effort to bring more jobs to the county. The bill was blended into a similar bill and the House approved the bill earlier this week. That bill has now moved to the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology.

“At the end of the day, when the session is over, I’m hoping to have at least five bills that I’m patron on or at least co-patron on that have been signed by the governor ( Bob McDonnell) and made into law,” he said.

Torian said McDonnell’s $4-billion transportation plan would help Prince William residents because it will create jobs, as well as improve transportation by allowing the community to start moving on projects that have been put on hold.

Although the transportation plan, which has the support of both the House and the Senate, would not pay to extend the Metrorail, it would have provided funding to make intersection improvements along Manassas Drive at Euclid Avenue and build the Route 28-Wellington Road interchange, among other projects in northern Virginia.

“These much needed-transportation projects, eventually as they are being completed, will make it easier for citizens to travel around our community,” he said.

Torian said he is pleased with what he’s accomplished during the first half of the session.

“I don’t think there’s anything I would have done differently, no,” he said. “I think things have progressed quite well and I’m very pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish. Now we’re going to cross over and do the best we can during the cross over.”

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