" Efficient and effective multi-modal transportation systems are necessary for business success," said Hampton Roads Chamber CEO & President, Bryan K. Stephens as he addressed the attendees of the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) meeting on July 13th. Stephens along with Hampton Roads Chamber board member and tHRive Chair, Julia Rust, served as panelists at the committee meeting. The panel centered on military expansion and new business viability in Hampton Roads specifically as it relates to the regional transportation issues. Bob Crum, Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization moderated the panel discussion. In addition to the Hampton Roads Chamber representatives, Craig Quigley, Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance, Michael Kuhns, President/CEO of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber, and Jemal Harris, Director of Economic Advancement for the Virginia Peninsula Chamber were represented on the panel.
Panelists discussed recent economic development, the economic impact of millennial relocation, and the role of transportation and public transit on the economic development forecast of the Hampton Roads region. A large part of the panel discussion focused on the perception of Hampton Roads by young professionals, and Harris and Rust were in agreement that transportation is a major factor of influence. "In one of our recent surveys we asked what three areas Hampton Roads could improve on and public and private transportation was number one on the list," said Julia Rust.
Improving transportation in our region would also benefit the military and the business community. The military presence in Hampton Roads has been "stable for the past few years," according to Craig Quigley, and if the desires of the current administration come to fruition a more robust military will positively impact the region. Economic growth from the private sector is also evident as in the last five years 51 companies have chosen to relocate to Hampton Roads, according to Bryan Stephens. "From a business perspective, we look at the impact transportation has on the business community--it's either an enabler or an inhibitor," said Stephens, " we need to make it an enabler. We have a fantastic planning and funding system for our roads, but you have to look at transportation as a holistic approach, you have to look at rail, light rail, air service, public transportation, etc." The panel wrapped up with a question and answer session and continued dialogue with the audience, covering transportation issues ranging from light rail expansion to tolls and funding.
The Hampton Roads Chamber is a powerful economic partner, inspiring ignitor, and impactful advocate for the Hampton Roads region. Taking part in discussions surrounding important policy and economic development topics such as transportation is one of the key ways we meet our mission and strategic goals.
Pictured here from left to right: Craig Quigley, Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance, Julia Rust, Hampton Roads Chamber board member and tHRive Chair, and Bryan Stephens, Hampton Roads Chamber President and CEO