Reston Restaurant Feeds 100 Dulles TSA Workers, Offers Discounts to Furloughed Employees

Updated at 10:45 a.m. — Includes information about feeding the TSA workers from Gaurang Shah.

Vapiano in Reston Town Center has been pitching in to help government workers as the partial federal government shutdown looms on without an end in sight.

The recent efforts stemmed from a desire to “take care of those who take care of us during this political standoff,” according to a press release.

Earlier this week, the Italian restaurant at 1875 Explorer Street offered 50 percent off for furloughed federal workers on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Gaurang Shah, the local behind the Reston Going Out Group on Meetup.com and a Vapiano regular, approached the restaurant with an idea: ask for food donations to serve to TSA workers.

Vapiano then created a menu of homestyle Italian meals. Shah told Reston Now that he pitched in supplies and other food, along with reaching out to a TSA Supervisor at Dulles International Airport who agreed with the proposal.

Shah said that hundreds of TSA workers came to the restaurant for the food.

Image via Vapiano/Twitter

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UPDATED: Virginia Lawmaker Unveils Bill to Lower Dulles Toll Road Hikes

Updated at 9:52 a.m. — United Airlines said that it does not receive a special jet fuel tax break. 

Del. Elizabeth Guzman unveiled a bill yesterday that would lower the tolls on Dulles Toll Road, one month after the toll hikes were approved for next year.

The bill would offset some of the upcoming toll increases by ending what Guzman calls United Airlines’ “jet fuel tax exemption” and directing that roughly $4 million per year toward the Silver Line project, which is currently funded largely by tolls.

That revenue could cancel almost 9 percent of the scheduled 2019 toll increase, according to a press release from UNITE HERE Local 23.

“United Airlines does not receive a special tax break and pays the same jet fuel tax as all other airlines that serve airports in the Commonwealth,” Kimberly Gibbs, a spokeswoman for United Airlines, said.

Gibbs added that the second phase of the Silver Line “will benefit residents, employers and businesses throughout the Dulles corridor.”

In Virginia, larger airlines like United Airlines pay less per gallon in taxes on most of the jet fuel they use, the press release says.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors voted Nov. 14 to increase rates on the Dulles Toll Road for the first time since 2014 to fund the Silver Line extension project and improvements on the Dulles Toll Road, according to the MWAA. Starting in January, the hike will raise the toll from $2.50 to $3.25 at the main toll plaza and from $1 to $1.50 on ramps.

The bill responds to community concerns about the increasing tolls, which are expected to rise to more than $11 by 2043 without alternative funding, the press release said.

“Virginia continues to face a transportation infrastructure funding crisis,” Guzman said. “But Virginia commuters should not be asked to accept higher tolls to fund transit projects that benefit United Airlines, while the airline receives millions in state tax breaks.”

Dels. Kaye Kory and Lee Carter, Virginia AFL-CIO, UNITE HERE Local 23 and CASA in Action, joined Guzman by the windows outside the United Airlines ticketing counters on Wednesday (Dec. 12) at 5 p.m. for the announcement about the bill.

Supporters of the bill argue that the Silver Line project will redirect more of the consumer air traffic market to Dulles International Airport, bringing an additional $66 million to United Airlines with 1 percent more of the regional passenger airline market.

Similar efforts in New Jersey are also underway. In September, the New Jersey Senate passed similar legislation to end United’s jet fuel tax break there to fund aviation-related transit projects.

“Commuters and every other business along the Dulles Corridor are already paying their fair share for the Silver Line. United Airlines should too,” Doris Crouse-Mays, president of the Virginia AFL-CIO, said.

Photo via Nova Labor/Facebook

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New Hotel in Herndon Opened with Amazon HQ2 In Mind

MCR, the owner of a new Courtyard by Marriott near Dulles International Airport, is motivated by the potential of a possible newcomer in the area: Amazon’s HQ2.

The owner is marketing the 187-room hotel, which is located at 13717 Sayward Blvd., with Amazon packages in the foreground in promotional materials. The company converted the former Sheraton hotel into a Courtyard.

“We developed the Courtyard by Marriott Dulles Airport Herndon with Amazon.com in mind,” said Tyler Morse, CEO and Managing Partner of MCR and MORSE Development. “In our hotel, the area’s tech workforce will have flexible spaces and free lightning fast Wi-Fi to stream, shop and work online.”

Amazon is expected to make a decision on the location of its second headquarters by the end of the year. Northern Virginia is among the 20 finalists, including the 26-acre Center for Innovative Technology campus.

The hotel includes a restaurant called The Bistro and a fitness center.

Photo via MCR

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A First Look at Metro’s Next Generation of Rail Cars

Metro is offering a glimpse into its next generation of rail cars, which are similar to the stainless steel 7000-series launched three years ago.

On Tuesday (September 5), Metro announced it has begun the procurement process for the 8000-series, which will replace the 2000- and 3000-series cars, which went into service more than 10 years ago. Trains are needed to meet expanding service, especially as the expansion of the Silver Line to Dulles Airport and into Loudoun County comes closer to fruition.

Departing from previous ideas, which included open, raised platforms to reduce overcrowding, heated floors and onboard WiFi, the latest plans are similar to the 7,000-series currently in operating. New features include new digital advertising screens, support for remote PA announcements, digital system mats, 110-volt power outlets to charge electronic devices and more lighting, floor markings and signage for ADA areas.

“Today Metro is beginning the multi-year process of acquiring our next railcar fleet, which will take everything our customers love about 7000-series trains and build upon that success,” Wiedefeld said in a statement. “I would take this opportunity to again thank our local jurisdictions — Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia — for creating a dedicated capital funding source for Metro that has made this possible,” according to a statement by Metro.

Metro has issued a formal request for proposals, which will close in late January. A contract will be awarded sometime next year. The contract calls for purchasing up to 800 cars, including options to run more trains during rush hour, and retiring the 6000-series fleet. The new trains are expected to be in service in 2024.

Photos via Washington Metropolitan Area Authority

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Wednesday Morning Notes

PRC Zoning Ordinance Amendment Info Session Tonight — Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and the Reston Citizens Association will present the forum tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). This is being held in advance of the fourth public meeting on the proposal, being presented Monday by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and County Planning and Zoning staff. [Reston Now]

Site Lists Top Places to Eat in Reston — Eater’s list includes 10 locations within Reston Town Center, but it also branches out to Lake Anne, South Lakes and more. [DC Eater]

Copperhead Spotted on W&OD Trail — The venomous snake was spotted last week on the trail near the Luck Stone Quarry overlook in Ashburn, serving as a reminder to be watchful when out in nature. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Dulles Day Festival is This Weekend — The 25th annual open house event at the airport Saturday will include a 5K/10K on runways, a festival on the airfield, and the plane-pull competition. [Dulles International Airport]

Another Brewery Coming to Route 28 Corridor — Rocket Frog Brewing Company is looking to open in Sterling early next year. This is on the heels of Ono Brewing Company opening recently in Chantilly. [The Burn]

File photo by Audrey Lawson

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Brabrand’s First Day as FCPS Superintendent — Monday marked Dr. Scott Brabrand’s first day as Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent. A former Herndon High School teacher, Brabrand is contracted for his new position through the 2020-21 school year. Brabrand tweeted during his first day on the job: “Excited to reconnect w/ old faces, get to know new ones, and talk about our shared vision to engage, inspire, and help our kids thrive.” [Scott Brabrand/Twitter]

Leesburg Hazmat Incident Mucks Up Flights — An evacuation at a Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control center in Leesburg delayed hundreds of flights around the region Monday night, including at Dulles. [Washington Post]

Fired Airport Worker Fighting for Wages — Swartha Tujare of Reston, a 67-year-old former Dulles Airport employee, was fired in December for striking for wage raises for airport workers. Tujare is having difficulty paying her bills, so she is trying to get her employer, Huntleigh USA, to pay her $8,000 in lost wages. [WUSA]

FCPS Taking Feedback on Mathematics Material — From now through July 30, FCPS is encouraging Fairfax County residents to provide their opinions on the proposed textbooks and online materials for the proposed Mathematics Basal Resources. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Free Yoga Tonight — The recurring event, Summerbration Yoga, will take place today from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Reston Station. [Reston Station]

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Monday Morning Notes

Metro Naming Rights To Be Sold? –The Metro Board’s Customer Service, Operations and Security Committee is expected to vote this week on whether to move forward with the idea of selling naming or branding rights to stations or even entire bus routes or Metro lines. Some board members believe selling naming rights could be one of the best ways to prevent another round of fare increases next year. [WTOP]

Reston Resident on Litter Board — Nicholas J. Surace of Reston has been named to the state’s Litter Control and Recycling Fund Advisory Board. The appointment is part of the governor’s work focused on finding common ground with members of both parties on issues that will build a new Virginia economy and create more jobs across the Commonwealth. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]

First Non-Stop Flight from India to Dulles — Met with celebratory water cannons, the sold-out plane touched down at 7 a.m. Friday at Dulles. The inaugural Air India flight from Delhi was in the air for 15 hours and 20 minutes. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

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Monday Morning Notes

Snowfall - Jan. 30, 2017

Weather Changes Schedules for Kids — Schools in Fairfax County are on a two-hour delay today due to the winter weather that struck overnight. The weather is expected to continue to fluctuate throughout the week, with highs around 50s projected for the next two days, followed by a return of winter heading into the weekend. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Governor to Be in Reston This Week — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is scheduled to travel to Reston on Wednesday morning. The governor’s official schedule for this week includes the visit to StreetShares, in Isaac Newton Square, to announce finalists for the Veteran Small Business Awards. [Governor’s Office]

Airport Protesters Decry Immigrant Ban — Washington Dulles International Airport saw a number of protesters at the international terminal over the weekend. The demonstrators were there to show their support for immigrants after President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning international travelers from a number of Muslim countries. [Washington Post]

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Silver Line Construction to Close Dulles Walkway for Two Years

Rendering of Dulles Station/Credit: MWAA

The northern portion of the underground walkway from Parking Garage 1 and the Main Terminal at Washington Dulles International Airport will close on Jan. 11 for construction of Metro’s Silver Line station.

Signage within the garage and the terminal will direct passengers to increased shuttle bus service for travelers parking in the garage.

Here is what you need to know:

  • Transportation between Garage 1 and the Main Terminal will be provided by shuttle buses approximately every five minutes during peak hours.
  • Buses will pick up and drop off passengers at three locations on the south (terminal-facing) side of Garage 1.
  • The parking shuttle buses stops at the Main Terminal at two locations along the second arrivals curb, near the exit at Door #2 and exit at Door #6.
  • While the walkway to Garage 1 is closed, there will be no pedestrian access between Garage 1 and the Main Terminal.
  • Pedestrian access between the Terminal Parking Lot and the Main Terminal via the walkway will be maintained. The walkway from Garage 2 to the Main Terminal will be unaffected and remain open.

“The expansion of the Silver Line Metrorail to Dulles International will play a significant role in the airport’s future,” Jack Potter, president and chief executive officer for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, said in a statement. “This temporary tunnel closure ultimately will result in a much more accessible airport and an enhanced experience for passengers.”

The Metrorail station will connect to the existing underground walkway between the garage and the terminal. The work on the station connector, which is expected to last up to 24 months, includes multiple utility and communication line installations and reconfigurations, shortening the existing moving walkways to accommodate the new rail station, and adjusting the walkway grade to match the station’s mezzanine level.

The Dulles Metro station is part of the Silver Line’s Phase 2 expansion, which will take Metro service from Wiehle-Reston East to Dulles and into Loudoun County. It is expected to open in early 2020.

Rendering of future Dulles Airport Station courtesy MWAA

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Wednesday Morning Rundown

Skating at Reston Town Center

Preventing Christmas Tree Fires — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue was on NBC’s Today show Tuesday with a demonstration on how quickly a dry Christmas tree can ignite. [Today.com]

No Reston On ‘Best Restaurants’ List — Reston may be home to dozens of popular restaurants, but none of them made Northern Virginia magazine’s “50 Best Restaurants’ list. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Dulles To Get More Funds? — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to give Dulles International Airport an additional $50 million to help it remain competitive and keep United Airlines as a hub. [Washington Post]

Sheriff Brings Christmas Gifts to Embry Rucker Kids — A Fairfax County Target store gave the county sheriff’s office a $5,500 grant, which Sheriff Stacey Kincaid used to bring new hats, gloves and boots to the young residents of Reston’s Embry Rucker Community Shelter. [Fairfax County]

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Birthday Present: Free Bus Rides to Dulles July 26 and 27

Silver Line Express/Credit: MetroMetro’s Silver Line is turning one July 26.

In honor of the anniversary, the Silver Line Express is offering free rides to Washington Dulles International Airport on Sunday and Monday.

The ride from Wiehle-Reston East to Dulles usually costs $5 each way.

Metro says more than 272,000 riders have used the bus service since it began on July 26, 2014. That is an 80-percent increase over previous service that ran between the airport and the East Falls Church Metro Station.

“This special promotion of free rides marks one year of enhanced passenger experience for travelers to and from Dulles International on the Silver Line Express bus,” Airports Authority Deputy Vice President for Planning and Revenue Development Chryssa Westerlund said in a release. “Dulles is the gateway to the world, and we are marketing the Silver Line Express bus to make sure travelers are aware that, with this service, the world is easier to get to than ever.”

The Silver Line Express operates every 15 minutes during weekday peak hours and every 20 minutes off-peak between Dulles the parking garage at the Wiehle-Reston East.

For schedules, maps and additional information visit the Silver Line Express website.

Phase 2 of the Silver Line, expected to be completed in early 2019, will take passengers all the way to Dulles, as well as stops in Loudoun County.

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Park at Dulles with Big Discount Through Jan. 5

Map of Discount Parking at Dulles/Courtesy of MWAAFlying out of town through Dulles International Airport this holiday season? You can save lots of money on airport parking through Jan. 5.

Dulles is offering 50 percent off the daily parking rate at the Main Terminal — a savings of $17 a day. No coupon is required.

To accommodate the expected additional customers, a portion of the Terminal parking lot is sectioned off as Holiday Discount Parking.”

Customers taking advantage of this special offer should enter through specially designated gates next to the Terminal/Hourly parking entrance. More than 900 parking spaces have been set aside.

Customers using Terminal/Hourly parking for pick-ups and drop-offs still have access to more than 1,000 parking spaces next to the terminal priced at $5 per hour or $35 per day. Valet parking customers should continue using the Hourly parking entrance to access the Valet service center.

The special $17 per day rate will be honored for all customers who use the Holiday Discount Parking entrance through Jan. 5, even if they exit the lot on a later date. When the promotion ends, Holiday Discount signage will be removed from the entrance, and the lot will return to the posted rate of $5 per hour/$35 per day, Dulles officials said.

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New Stores, Holiday Offer at Dulles (Promoted)

Washington, D.C. area airports are making big changes to bring first class finds to savvy travelers and just in time for the holiday travel season.

Don’t arrive to your destination empty-handed. You can now jet to the newest stores for your gifts on the go.

Reston’s “local” airport has plenty of new retail and restaurant options to choose from, more on the way, and a special offer for December.

Dulles International Airport has recently added the following to its shopping and dining mix:

  • Firkin & Fox Restaurant
  • Forbes News
  • Washingtonian News
  • luv’nberry Frozen Yogurt
  • brb (Be Right Burger)
  • Estee Lauder/M.A.C
  • Tumi
  • Swarovski
  • Au Bon Pain
  • Auntie Annie’s
  • Bistro Atelier
  • NBC4 News
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop

The following are coming as soon as this winter:

  • Bar Symon
  • District ChopHouse
  • &pizza
  • Carrabba’s
  • Capitol Grounds Coffee
  • Chef Geoff’s
  • DC Craft Brews
  • Smashburger
  • Burberry
  • Coach
  • Kiehl’s
  • L’Occitaine
  • Michael Kors
  • Montblanc
  • Thomas Pink

Looking forward to checking them out? Or visiting an old favorite? Good news: it could get you a gadget that will come in handy while heading to grandma’s house for the holidays next month.

If you spend $100 or more (pretax) at any combination of stores and restaurants at Dulles International Airport in December — duty-free excluded — you’ll be eligible for a FREE portable USB battery pack charger for your smartphone or other device.

The charger has a retail value of $30. To redeem, present your receipts at a designated redemption store in each concourse. Limit one per customer, while supplies last.

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Reston’s Be Right Burger Now Open at Dulles Airport

Be Right Burger (Photo via Facebook/eatBRB)Travelers can now get a taste of Reston at Dulles International Airport.

An outpost of the burger joint Be Right Burger opened at Dulles late last month, general manager Christina Sawyer said Friday.

Known for speedy gourmet burgers and hot dogs, the Concourse C restaurant is the second location for the Reston Town Center-based business. The company aims to give travelers the same experience they would get in Reston.

“We’re offering great, quick service, a wonderful meal and friendly environment,” Sawyer said.

Unlike the Reston location that opened in 2011, Be Right Burger is serving breakfast at Dulles, starting at 5 a.m.

The company has 14 locations in Canada and will continue to open U.S. locations, Sawyer said.

The burger vendors already at Dulles include Five Guys, Fuddruckers and Wendy’s, and a Smashburger is opening soon, according to the local burger blog Burger Days.

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Man in U.S. With Ebola Traveled Through Dulles

Dulles International Airport/File photoThe man who was diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas-area hospital this week traveled through Dulles International Airport on his way back from Liberia, officials said.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said late Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control has assured them that the man was not ill during his flight on Sept. 20 so there is no chance of transmission.

“The ill person did not exhibit symptoms of Ebola during the flights from West Africa and the CDC does not recommend that people on the same commercial airline flights undergo monitoring, as Ebola is contagious only if the person is experiencing active symptoms,” MWAA said in a statement.

United Airlines officials said they believe that the man traveled on the following flights: Brussels to Washington Dulles on Flight 951, and Washington Dulles to Dallas-Fort Worth on Flight 822.

The CDC said in a statement there is  “zero risk of transmission on any flight on which the patient flew because he was not symptomatic until several days after his trip and could not have been contagious on the dates he traveled.”

The CDC added that while they feel it is unnecessary “for it or the airline to contact others who were on the patient’s flights, United is providing information about the flights United believes the patient took, based on information provided by the CDC. We are ensuring our employees have this information and suggest that any customers who have concerns contact the experts at the CDC for further information.”

A Texas television station says the man spent three hours on the ground at Dulles. The planes in which he traveled have since flown to 27 cities, reports ABC 13 Houston.

The man, identified by the Associated Press as Thomas Eric Duncan, remains hospitalized in Dallas. Family members, including children, he came in contact with since showing symptoms late last week, are under a 21-day quarantine.

Ebola has killed more than 2,900 people since the outbreak began in March, according to the CDC..

Meanwhile, Reston has been mentioned in many reports this week as a place where Ebola was previously found in the United States. That infection, which began in monkeys imported from the Philippines to a Reston lab in 1989, was transmitted through the air.

While hundreds of monkeys either contracted or were exposed  to what is now called Ebola Reston, one of five strains of the deadly disease, Ebola Reston did not infect humans.

Read more about Ebola Reston in this Reston Now article.

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