Midtown Tunnel Meeting – A Review

23 04 2009
Mayor Fraim Speaks to the IRP

Mayor Fraim Speaks to the IRP

Yesterday, I attended and spoke at the Midtown Tunnel Public Meeting at Norfolk’s City Hall. Overall, I was more impressed with the speaking members of the public than I was with the board. Unlike other public meetings, which are designed to address the public’s concerns, this one was intended to be a one-way meeting. In other words, people got up to speak. After ever member of the public had spoken, the board thanked everyone for showing up and dismissed the meeting. There was a fairly good turnout amongst the public, however, only twelve spoke. Of those twelve, eight (66%) spoke against the high proposed tolls. Six of the eight said that they were not completely against all tolls, just outrageous tolls. Mayor Fraim, the first to speak, said that the residents of Hampton Roads “should not be billed twice,” referring to the method of taxing the region and then charging them, in full, for the cost of a State highway. The mayor also called for the State to contribute. The third speaker (I failed to catch his name), called the practice of “Congestion Pricing*” another word for price gouging and stated that in any other situation, it would be illegal. The fourth speaker, a Mr. Henry Schreiber, called for the state to contribute and called the high toll a “disservice to [Hampton Roads] and the State of Virginia.” There were a couple of residents from “Raleigh Row**,” who wanted to make sure that there would be no disruption to their century old homes. A good quarter of the speakers called for the Midtown Project to include room for a future Light Rail extension. There were no speakers that were against a Light Rail capacity for the tunnel project. Towards the end, a Mr. Edward Ellis spoke, asking the board to question the company’s profit margin for the project. He also called for a cap on tolls, to prevent the company from raising them once it received approval.

There will be two additional meetings in the coming months. The first is at the Norfolk City Hall on May 13th from 6-9 PM. This will be the Financial Presentation. The second and final meeting will take place on June 10th, from 6-9 PM at Portsmouth City Hall. There will be no more public comment sessions.

* Congestion Pricing = Tolls increase in relation to the traffic on the highway. In other words, the toll is cheap in off hours and high in rush hours.
**Raleigh Row = The Last row of houses left over from the old Atlantic City, a section of Norfolk torn down to make room for the Hospital Complex.

^^For those interested: Raleigh Row^^

^^For those interested: Raleigh Row^^




One response

24 04 2009
Michael Ragsdale

My old home (I was right around the corner on the 800 block of Greenway Ct), no I don’t want to see it disrupted but yes, it’s time to do something about the Midtown and yes it needs The Tide going through it

Oh, and Congestion Pricing isn’t price gouging. Simply alter your travel time, or better yet Ride The Tide through the tunnel!

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