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DAYBREAK DAILY: Ruling on tunnel tolls may cost Virginia considerably

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ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly cloudy with likely rain showers and highs in the low 80s. http://wj.la/72e8x6

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the stories – Women moving into military combat roles; VP Joe Bide to push for gun-control measures; June supermoon; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m M-F.

TIDEWATER TUNNELS: What they mean for you, here, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton painted a bleak financial picture for the state if a May court decision striking down planned tolls for the Midtown and Downtown tunnels is upheld, saying it could cost at least $700 million and potentially jeopardize other toll projects. Testifying before state legislators Monday, Connaughton estimated that Virginia would be out $706 million in damages and costs incurred if it terminated the $2.1 billion contract with Elizabeth River Crossings to upgrade and operate the tunnels.

“And the liability could be much higher if Virginia and its private partners move forward on the project but aren't able to collect tolls.” http://bit.ly/19eKwvP

AND THIS: More tunnel talk, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “. . . “It’s a very big deal for Virginia,” said Del. John M. O’Bannon III, R-Henrico, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which had summoned Connaughton to testify on the ramifications of the bench ruling by Portsmouth Circuit Judge James A. Cales Jr. on May 1. Three weeks later, Cales refused to stay his decision pending appeal to the state’s high court.

“The judge’s decision has focused national attention on the future of public-private transportation partnerships in Virginia by calling into question the constitutionality of delegating legislative authority to set toll rates that Cales said are nothing less than taxes.” http://bit.ly/17iFUaO

NAVAL ACADEMY RAPE CHARGES: Just the facts, per the Washington Post, “Several U.S. Naval Academy football players will soon face charges in connection with the alleged rape of a female midshipman at an off-campus party more than a year ago, officials at the elite service academy in Annapolis said Monday. The rape allegations, along with accusations that Navy investigators and academy brass had dragged their feet, exploded into public view just as Congress was debating changes to the way the military handles sexual assault cases.

“. . . The investigation, led by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, resulted from an incident at an off-campus “football house” in Annapolis in April 2012. The woman’s attorney, Susan Burke, said the woman got drunk, passed out and woke up remembering little from the party. “She learned from friends and social media that three football players were claiming to have had sexual intercourse with her while she was incapacitated,” Burke said in a statement issued last month.” http://wapo.st/15fb3F6

TEACHER TRAINING: Or lack thereof, per the Baltimore Sun, “Teacher preparation programs in the nation and Maryland are part of "an industry of mediocrity" that is failing to give young teachers the skills to succeed in the classroom, according to a long-awaited report by a national research advocacy group. The National Council on Teacher Quality released today the first comprehensive ranking of 608 teacher preparation programs across the nation. The report was based on criteria that included whether the colleges prepared teachers to manage a classroom and teach reading and gave their undergraduate or graduate students high-quality, hands-on experience before they graduated.

“Two of the highest-profile teacher preparation programs in the state — Towson University and the Johns Hopkins University — received low rankings on a scale of one to four stars. Towson's undergraduate program earned 11/2 stars and Hopkins' graduate elementary and secondary education programs garnered two stars and 11/2 stars, respectively. The University of Maryland, College Park's and McDaniel College's programs had the highest rankings.” http://bsun.md/11kGdxf

WAR: Of stepping away, per the New York Times, “ When the American-led NATO coalition officially transfers security responsibility for all of Afghanistan to government forces in a ceremony on Tuesday, it will in part be a formality. Already this year, Afghan forces have been in the lead in fighting the Taliban in more than three-quarters of the country — and they have been killed and wounded at a record pace, accordingly.

“But after Tuesday, these are supposed to be the rules everywhere: while American units may sometimes be close by, Afghan forces must operate without American air support, medical evacuation helicopters or partnered combat units. If they get in trouble, NATO will not be riding to the rescue, except in the most dire cases.” http://nyti.ms/11v53qJ

NEW DOWNTOWN PG: Or something like that, per Gazette.Net, “. . . County officials are looking to develop up to three sites as downtown hubs for the county. Given Prince George’s County is about 500 square miles, multiple downtowns are under consideration in order to both recognize the different north, central and southern regions of the county, said Kierre McCune, who is managing the county’s new master plan, Plan Prince George’s County 2035. The master plan lays out a general plan for future growth and development across the county to help guide efforts by government and the private sector.” http://bit.ly/1amafDZ

FIRES GONE WILD: What to do?, per the Denver Post, “A Colorado task force on Monday got down to developing unprecedented limits for building homes in burn zones after the Black Forest fire raised concerns — again — that risks and costs are becoming too great. Fees assessed on people who choose to live in forests, mandatory disclosure of wildfire risks before home sales and tougher building codes are among measures that members of Gov. John Hickenlooper's Task Force on Wildfire Insurance and Forest Health are considering.” http://bit.ly/13Xe3Gw

POLITICO PLAY: “Revelations about the Obama administration’s expansive domestic surveillance programs have opened a chasm between Democratic elected officials and their progressive base — one that could be tricky for the party’s future presidential hopefuls to bridge. Have Democratic voters become more accepting of surveillance tactics after blasting them during the Bush administration? Or could this become the 2016 version of the 2008 Democratic Party brawl over who voted for the Iraq War, a debate that helped sink Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and elect Barack Obama? It is too soon to say.” http://politi.co/16c46XL

SLOW DOWN: Just the facts, per ABC7—WJLA, “You may soon need to pack your patience before getting behind the wheel in Arlington. The county is considering lowering the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph in the downtown districts like Rosslyn, Courthouse, and Clarendon.” http://wj.la/19eDvuK

MR. T: Sigh, per City Paper, “Former employees of embattled D.C. politics money man Jeff Thompson have given money to a wide range of political campaigns for District and national candidates. But only one campaign is at issue in a hearing set for later this week: that of Virgin Islands Del. Donna Christensen, a Democrat. Lee A. Calhoun, who works at Thompson's former accounting firm, will likely plead guilty Thursday to making illegal campaign contributions in his and his wife's name to Christensen's campaign in 2011. Calhoun was actually getting the money from his unnamed employer (whose description closely resembles Thompson), according to prosecutors.” http://bit.ly/12GiicZ

BAD DEAL: For all concerned, per the Washington Times, “A man and woman were both found fatally shot Monday morning in an apparent murder-suicide inside the Skyline Towers apartment complex in Falls Church, police said. The Fairfax County Police Department did not release the identities of either person on Monday, nor indicate which person was believed to be the shooter.” http://bit.ly/17V3Wbh

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals lose 5-4 against Philadelphia.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “A Clinton family has an emotional plea for help in finding the person responsible for the deadly hit-and-run that killed their daughter and robbed an 18-month-old of his mother. Tiara Jackson was killed in early June when she was struck on the outer loop of the Beltway. Read more: http://wj.la/12FnZIl

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier, who will be asked about the beating of a cyclist on a popular bike path, allegations of racial bias in marijuana arrests, MPD’s summer safety plan and more.

--Skip Wood

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