VDOT’s Budget Cut Again

6 12 2009

Once again, the state is once again cutting money off of VDOT’s budget. This time, however, there is nothing left but bones. In fact, as early as 2011, Hampton Roads will get zero (you read that right) dollars for road construction. Statewide that same year, Northern Virginia would receive $225 million (93.2%) from VDOT. Even sooner, in 2010, the overall budget will grow 3% despite Hampton Roads’ funding getting cut another 13% for that same year! In 2010, Northern Virginia’s budget actually increases by 5%. Our luck would not change until 2015, when we get a whopping $100 million. Of course, seeing as 2015 is six years from now in the six year budget, our actual chances of seeing anything are very slim. When are we, as Hampton Roads residents going to stand up for ourselves? When will we decide that allowing Northern Virginia rob us blind is no longer acceptable? You know when? When we decide that we are a single, unified voice. Northern Virginia can say that, as suburbs of DC, they all need the same general projects to get by. Hampton Roads, on the other hand, can do nothing of the sort. Norfolk wants money for the Midtown Tunnel. Virginia Beach wants money for the Southeastern ‘Parked’way (which is what it really will be when it is full of traffic). Chesapeake wants a new Dominion Blvd. Portsmouth wants the MLK extended. Hampton wants the HRBT redone. Newport News wants I-64 expanded north. None of the cities here realize that we all need the same things to function. Without one of our major connectors, the whole place is gridlocked. Look at any interstate when one gets all lanes blocked during rush hour. The whole area shuts down. We can’t court new business if we don’t have a reliable road system. We need to work together as one region to secure our road money. We need to tell our legislature that Northern Virginia has robbed us enough and we demand our fair share. People here complain when a city spends tax money on something light Town Center, light rail, Downtown, etc., but they seem to have no problem paying taxes to a state that is ripping us off. Its not VDOTs fault. It is completely the legislature’s fault. We cannot allow current elected state representatives to serve another term. They have not fixed our problem yet and they will never fix it. Short of seceding from the Commonwealth of Virginia, regionalism and voting out our incumbents is our only option.


Money for Highways

27 10 2009

Everyone agrees that most of Hampton Roads’ most congested roadways are part of the Interstate System. These include Interstate 64’s HRBT and Interstate 264’s Downtown Tunnel. This also includes the need for the Third Crossing, which, for the most part, would take the name of Interstate 564. This also includes the Berkley Bridge and the High Rise Bridge. (On a side note, Virginia has more Interstate Highway Drawbridges than any other state. Hampton Roads alone has 25% of all Interstate Highway Drawbridge)

Most would also agree that the region’s highways are also important to the local military facilities including Camp Peary, Yorktown Weapons Station, Fort Eustis, Langley AFB, Norfolk NAS, Little Creek Amphib Base, Fort Story, Oceana NAS, and Dam Neck. I’m sure I missed something, but regardless, everyone has seen how much traffic is lessened by a holiday where the Navy does not have to report. Completely ignoring the toll that military traffic takes on our highways, my point is that if something happened to some aspect of our system, the Navy would be crippled. I’m not talking about an attack or something like that, I’m talking about a severe traffic accident. Or perhaps a hurricane. I know that during a hurricane evacuation all lanes of traffic are directed away from the area. How are the military supposed to get to the base to take the ships out of harbor?

Do you see my point? I think that the continuing neglect of our highways has even greater national security complications than any other threat you can think of. What good is a top-notch Defense Department if they can’t get to their bases? The “National Interstate and Defense Highways Act (1956)” renamed the highway system to the “National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.” Eisenhower even announced it as the “National Defense Highway System.” In fact the “National Interstate and Defense Highways Act (1956)” specifically states that the System’s “primary importance [is] to the national defense.” With all this in mind, I think that it is fair to say that, with such a National Security importance, Hampton Roads has been cheated out of the funds necessary to maintain the acceptable level of service that is required to maintain a quality Highway.

The Navy was opposed to a bridge being used as part of an expanded HRBT because they were afraid it might be destroyed in an act of terrorism and would leave all the ships stuck in the harbor. What good is a clear exit if the personnel required to operate the ships are stuck in traffic? Not only as Hampton Roads or Virginia residents, but as United States citizens, we should require Congress to bring our National Security up to par by fixing our highways. China, which is technically a ‘developing country,’ is using American highway and traffic engineers to design a world-class highway system. Meanwhile, America is utilizing Chinese … cheap crap, drywall, and substandard steel to effectively undo our position as a world power.