Private Solution to a Public Problem

17 11 2008
Virginian Pilot Photo

Re: “Tunnels Proposal” Virginian-Pilot November 14, 2008
I support this concept. I actually posted a plan similar to this one on Virginia’s Ideas website. The state has refused to grant money to the area to fix the problems at hand. We, as a community and as individuals, MUST end our reliance on the government. Currently, we just sit back, going about our daily lives, while the government continues to shaft us. If the government won’t pay for it with money they already have and nobody wants to pay more taxes to fund it, then what is our alternative? We have two options:

1. Continue to sit back, grasping for our taxpayer-filled bottle from the government

OR

2. Take the matter into our own hands and fix it.

I regularly choose option #2 for other things. For example, I live on a dead end street. About halfway down the block, the curb ends. Now, apparently according to city policy, Street Sweepers do not sweep where there is no curb. So what do we do about the half inch of slippery-when-wet pine needles at the end of the street? What do we do about the clogged storm drain and grate? My neighbors apparently, choose option #1, which has yet to yield results. On the other hand, last week, when it was pouring down rain and my neighbors were dry on their porches complaining about our flooded street, I got a shovel and shoveled the leaves and dirt off of the Storm grate and out of the storm drain. Consequently, the waters subsided within 15 minutes during the rain storm. Try getting those results from the government.
Back to the tunnel plan. Now obviously I don’t have $200 million just sitting around, or I would fix the tunnels myself. This company, however, does have the money. They are ready, able, and willing to give us a solution. At a price. Now I concur that the $2 and above tolls are a bit excessive, tolls are necessary. I would pick a $0.50 toll at the downtown tunnel during non-rush hour times and $1.00 during rush-hour. For the Midtown Tunnel, which would get the bulk of the construction, should see $1.00 in off-peak hours and $2.00 for on peak. The peak/off-peak rates would encourage those who can choose to modify their office hours to off-peak hours, therefore distributing the traffic load throughout the day. I understand that some people would choose to go to the Downtown instead of the Midtown to save a buck, but I do not think that it would be a substantial number, mostly because the drive would cost nearly a dollar in gas.

Come on Hampton Roads! We want and need better transportation links in our area but nobody wants to pay for them. A toll would charge only those who actually use the tunnel. That means that if you live in Pungo and work in Greenbriar, you will never have to pay for this. If we don’t do this, however, and our region becomes gridlocked, That same person may be affected when, say, a company that relies on the tunnels for transportation goes out of business and it just happens to be the company that the Pungo resident’s company get 75% of its business from. Then the Pungo resident gets laid off, can’t find a job, and loses his or her home. All because we wouldn’t build a tunnel.

My main point here is that this need for a tunnel (and improved transportation and mass transportation) affects everybody but the cost doesn’t have to.

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