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Bolling will not run for governor

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) announced Tuesday that he will not pursue an independent campaign for governor. Bolling had been mulling an independent run for governor since dropping his bid for the Republican nomination.

In a message to supporters, Bolling said he strongly considered an independent run but ultimately decided it would be too difficult to raise enough money to go up against two well-funded challengers: Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a businessman and former Democratic National Committee chairman.

Bolling also said he has mixed feelings about severing ties with his party.

“While I am very concerned about the current direction of the Republican Party, I still have many dear friends in the Republican Party, people who have been incredibly supportive of me over the years,” Bolling wrote. “I have heard from many of these friends over the past several months. They have encouraged me to not give up on the Republican Party and continue working to get our party back on a more mainstream course.”

Bolling did not use his letter to endorse either gubernatorial candidate, urging voters to carefully consider the choice before them this fall.

“Our priority should be on electing a Governor who has the ability to effectively and responsibly govern our state and provide the mainstream leadership we need to solve problems, get things done and make Virginia a better place to live. Nothing less should be acceptable,” he said.

Two express bus routes, other Connector service changes begin Monday

Fairfax Connector is starting two new express bus routes Monday that use the 495 Express Lanes to provide service from southern Fairfax County to Tysons Corner. Service on four other routes is also being modified.

The new express routes are Route 493 (F, G, J, M) from Lorton VRE Station and Saratoga Park and Ride to Tysons, and Route 494 (F, G, J, M) from Franconia-Springfield Metro Station and greater Springfield to Tysons. The letters correspond to different circulations within Tysons, serving many major employers:

• F is full Tysons circulation

• G is Greensboro circulation

• J is Jones Branch circulation

• M is McLean circulation

The express fare will be $3.65 with a SmarTrip card or $4 cash, following an introductory free ride period March 18 through April 12.

Route 495 (F, G, J, M), which also takes commuters to Tysons, will be modified to add service to all bus stops along route between Burke VRE Station and Wakefield Chapel Road.

Route 333 and 334 will be modified to reduce travel time and improve on-time performance. Route 333 will use the Franconia-Springfield Parkway during rush hour. Route 334 will travel southbound along Cinder Bed Road and northbound along Fairfax County Parkway in the mornings and travel southbound along the Fairfax County Parkway and northbound along Cinder Bed Road in the afternoons.

Fairfax Connector also is adding rush hour service on Route 372 to the Patriot Ridge Office Campus on morning southbound trips and afternoon northbound trips.

State panel to review voting rights for felons

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced this week that he has created a bipartisan advisory committee to examine what alternatives may be available within the existing framework of the Constitution of Virginia to restore civil rights for nonviolent felons, particularly voting rights.

“There are many people in our communities who have committed certain low-level, nonviolent offenses in the past, paid their debts to society, and then gone on to live law-abiding lives,” Cuccinelli said in a released statement. “There should be a way for willing individuals who want to regain their place in society to be forgiven, be given a second chance, and to pursue a path to regain their civil rights.”

Currently, the one way in Virginia former nonviolent felons may regain their civil rights is by seeking restoration through the governor.

To date, reform efforts have focused on seeking an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia, which sets the current process. The advisory committee will consider alternatives that might be permissible under the current constitution.