Finally, High Speed Progess

2 11 2009

Source of Image: The Virginian-Pilot

Finally, with only months left before the deadline, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization has voted to push for High Speed Rail to the Southside, terminating in Downtown Norfolk. The vote was unanimous among those in attendance. Nay-sayers might say that it doesn’t really mean that there is support, since four of the Peninsula cities went unrepresented but they had their chance. They obviously did not think that it was important enough for them to need to go. I have to say, however, that the Mayor of Hampton, Molly Ward, should get some sort of reward. Fhe was quoted as saying, “You do whats best for the region and the commonwealth. You don’t make any progress when you just say no.” That was definitely a show of regionalism. If only our other localities had mayors that were smart enough to speak out publicly and say that it wasn’t just about what was good for their city, but instead it was about what was good for the region. Good job Mayor Ward.

This move is not the final say, however. It will not be final until the Commonwealth Transportation Board votes on the issue. If it passed the Board, it opens the door to High Speed Rail to Hampton Roads. This new High Speed line will terminate near Harbor Park, where a proposed multi-modal station would be built where High Speed Rail, Light Rail, and local buses could meet. All is not lost for the Peninsula, however. Under this plan they would receive upgrades to their current rail service.

Please contact the CTB and urge their support of this option. You can email Carol Mathis, the Assistant Secretary to the Board with your comments.

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6 responses

2 11 2009
t1ewis

well i’ll def bite my tongue: You do whats best for the region and the commonwealth. You don’t make any progress when you just say no.” That was definitely a show of regionalism. If only our other localities had mayors that were smart enough to speak out publicly and say that it wasn’t just about what was good for their city, but instead it was about what was good for the region. Good job Mayor Ward.

hopefully we’ll see some more involvement out of Hampton when the New Regional Transportation Draft is completed next year.

3 11 2009
t1ewis

and i’ll add this as well, Hampton is known for bandwagoning (i know made up word) proposals for other cities but stay silent if it has to do with their own city. that’s why i say when it comes time for the new (HRT version) Transportation Vision to come out, what are they gonna do?

3 11 2009
Russell Manning

Hopefully, it is a turn for the best and its only a start for the whole region.

3 11 2009
Brett

Wow, this is great news. That Harbor Park area is going to be an epicenter of development in 10-15 years. Hopefully a community that has Ghent-style density and walkable features. This and the SPQ Vision are going to combine to really turn that area around for the better. Norfolk is on the move for sure.

3 11 2009
Missy Schmidt

Transportation remains a critical priority throughout Hampton Roads, crucial to the mission performance of the 50-plus military and other federal activities; to the ports in Hampton Roads, providing an essential American gateway to the world; and to the public safety of more than 1.6 million citizens in a natural or man-made disaster.

I applaud the approximately $1.6 Billion federal application by the Commonwealth of Virginia for High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSR) funding, made possible by $8 billion in HSR funds in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This funding will provide required “Track 1” rail infrastructure improvements from Washington DC to Petersburg, VA, including additional tracks and signal, station and rail yard improvements.

I also applaud the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) endorsement of the following designations:
>“High‐Speed Rail” corridor along the Norfolk Southern/Route 460 corridor serving South Hampton Roads; and
>“Emerging High-Speed Rail” with the enhancement of the existing intercity passenger rail service along the CSX/I‐64 corridor on the Virginia Peninsula.

This vote is meaningless unless we garner support of the pending Commonwealth “Track 2” request of $330-844 Million in rail improvements to support this new high speed rail service to Hampton Roads and enhanced intercity passenger rail corridors and service on the Peninsula.

BTW, I have it on good authority that letters of support were written by the Mayors who were unable to attend the special HRTPO meeting. Because it was a short-notice specially called meeting, not everyone was able to attend.

It’s a shame that what “sells” is controversial, hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing, hand-wringing oh-they’re-not-getting-along-again reporting. Our communities act much more regionally than is ever reported.

Glad to see you’re back into blogging!

4 11 2009
Russell Manning

Thanks. Also I would like to second your comment: “Our communities act much more regionally than is ever reported.” One of my favorite journalists to read used to live in our area but no longer does (Alex Marshall). He does keep is old columns online, however. My favorite one is entitled “Greater Norfolk: Why Not.” In this article he has a quote from Mayor Fraim. He is on record as saying, “As unpleasant as it seems, consolidation might be the easiest route,” when referring to the need to have a regional city versus multiple, divided municipalities.

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