Transportation

Hampton Roads stands among the nation’s worst transportation corridors. US 58
through the Midtown Tunnel is recognized as the most heavily traveled
two-lane road east of the Mississippi.  Westbound I-64 from Tidewater Drive
to the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel is one of the worst rush hour commutes in
America.  The influential Texas Transportation Institute concluded that we
live in the 10th most congested large urban area.  In addition, as the state
has failed in its duty to help our system of roads and bridges keep pace
with growth that makes up a fifth of Virginia¹s economy, the Governor¹s
administration has presented us with tolls that will cripple small business
and household budgets.
This must change. As your Senator, I will continue the fight for a fair solution to transportation that I began earlier this year. Too often Virginia¹s crucial needs like transportation are sacrificed because of partisanship and a lack a transparency.  This issue transcends party labels and requires bold leadership to create a solution.
As state expenditures for maintenance begin to outpace funding for critical new projects, a broad coalition of citizens is needed to secure the transportation infrastructure that our families and businesses deserve.
Funding for transportation is a responsibility shared by all Virginians ­
Hampton Roads generates over $80 billion in yearly economic output, is home to three Fortune 1000 companies, 10 colleges and universities, four marine terminals, and a major US naval base. When our students and workers are faced with extended commutes, and the delivery of goods and services are hampered by traffic, the Commonwealth’s productivity suffers.
We should not be forced to carry this burden alone. Virginia¹s gas tax has not been adjusted in 25 years.  The nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has concluded that a mere 10 cent increase in the gasoline tax would raise an extra $500 million a year while only costing the typical driver an extra $8 per month.
Our transportation infrastructure is a public good ­ Pending plans to place costly tolls on the mid-town tunnel, the downtown tunnel and Martin Luther King Drive attack the ideal of transportation infrastructure as a public good ­ a service that is provided without profit for everyone’s benefit. These plans have been brokered behind closed doors and will have a $1,000 impact on the annual budgets of area families.  The impact on small businesses will be just as immense. Not only will this burden hamper growth it will lead the way in taking decisions about planning and development out of the hands of the public.
It’s about more than new roads and bridges ­ Addressing transportation is about more than reduced congestion and shorter commutes.  Hampton Roads is an international transportation hub and essential link in the global supply chain.  The future of our success depends on our ability to quickly move goods and people to a variety of jobs that support this economy and provide for national security without privately brokered restrictions.  I will continue my commitment to fight for the transportation funds we are owed and work tirelessly to insure Hampton Roads preeminence as a global leader in transportation.