On January 24, Governor Bob McDonnell visited Newport News to highlight the numerous local road and rail projects that would be jumpstarted through passage of his comprehensive transportation funding plan currently before the General Assembly. In a gathering at the Huntington Ingalls Industries Bateman Center, the governor was joined by representatives of numerous local organizations, supporting his plan. The governor's plan is the most substantial long-term transportation plan put forward in Virginia in over a generation, and would generate $3.1 billion for roads and rail in the Commonwealth in just the next five years.
"Transportation is a core function of government," said Governor McDonnell. "Children can't get to school; parents waste too much time in traffic; and businesses can't move their goods without an adequate and efficient transportation system. My 2013 transportation funding and reform package is intended to address the short and long-term transportation funding needs of the Commonwealth. Declining funds for infrastructure maintenance, stagnant motor fuels tax revenues, increased demand for transit and passenger rail, and the growing cost of major infrastructure projects necessitate enhancing and restructuring the Commonwealth's transportation program and the way it is funded. Here in Hampton Roads, the growing cost of congestion on businesses and commuters demands that we get serious about addressing long-term funding needs. Tunnels and bridges to address key river crossing bottlenecks are expensive projects, and we cannot fund them without significant transportation funding reform. We simply cannot continue to do what we have always done and expect this problem to go away. The time is now for an innovative and sustainable plan to meet our transportation needs and grow Virginia's economy."
Jack Hornbeck, President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber, was among the speakers at the press conference. Hornbeck said, “This is an issue of vital importance to all of us. We offer our support to what we consider is a bold and forward thinking transportation funding plan.” He added, “As an organization dedicated to the creation of economic opportunity and the competitiveness of Virginia, it wasn’t’ lost on us that in CNBC’s most recent ranking of the best places to do business, moved Virginia from number 1 to number 3, primarily on the basis of our unwillingness to invest in our transportation infrastructure.”
Regionally, the plan would jump start Hampton Roads highway, passenger rail and transit projects including:
- Increased passenger train service to and from Norfolk
- I-64 capacity improvements between Newport News and Williamsburg
- I-64 and I-264 interstate reconstructive paving improvements
- Widening of Military Highway
- Secondary unpaved road projects in Isle of Wight, Southampton, Sussex and York counties
- Numerous bridge replacements including:
Bridge Street over Salters Creek in Hampton
Route 189 Southquay Road over Blackwater River in Southampton County
Route 1306 over West Ridge Creek in Accomack County
Route T-1304 over West Ridge Creek in Accomack County
Route 671 over Nottoway River in Southampton County
Route 603 three bridges over Blackwater River in Sussex County
-Major interstate reconstructive paving projects statewide Repeat see I-64 and I- 264 above.
-Track improvements Newport News to Richmond/Richmond to Washington, DC
-Significant operations and capital investments for public transportation. Services provided by Hampton Roads Transit, Williamsburg Area Transit Authority, Bay Transit, STAR Transit and other local transit providers.
The proposed highway project list can be found at: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/utility/docs/Illustrative%20List%20Highway%20Projects.pdf
The proposed transit and rail project list can be found at: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/utility/docs/Illustrative%20List%20Rail%20and%20Transit%20Projects.pdf
The Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University found that Virginians back the Governor’s transportation plan by a 2-1 margin. Speaking about the results, pollster Quentin Kidd said, “The governor’s transportation plan has public support, and this is the first time in a very long time that Virginians have supported any kind of transportation plan.”
You can read about the Christopher Newport Poll HERE
Next, the Virginian Transportation Construction Alliance released its own statewide poll on transportation.
The poll found THE SAME STRONG 2-1 SUPPORT for the Governor’s transportation plan. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, support it. 73% of “very conservative” voters favor the Governor’s plan.
And the poll shows that Virginians, by overwhelming numbers, want transportation addressed this session of the General Assembly, with no more delays.
FYI: VTCA has also noted that the Governor’s conservative plan would create 20,000 new jobs in the state and lead to $2.5 billion in new economic activity.
You can read that poll HERE
Please, go to this LINK and ask your local legislators to vote YES on the Governor’s plan.