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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

HRTA -Questioned Again?

Today the Virginian Pilot reported that James City County was reversing their decision to support the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority.
I understand their thought. None of the projects that will be produced by the HRTA will affect JCC (except maybe the I64 widening). Even though they will not be affected, they will still be required to pay all of the fees that the HRTA will be collecting. They don't believe the philosophy of a regional economy.
I think that we can fix this problem though. The HRTA was created to do only certain projects set by the legislature. They cannot change these projects. I think that they should be made to be the Hampton Roads branch of VDOT. They should be funded by the state in an amount equal to what VDOT would spend on average in our area. I think that they should be allowed to collect tolls and fees to further fund themselves. This plan would keep our money where it belongs. They should also be able to modify, add, or eliminate projects. This would allow for a local organization to hear local comments on what should happen, instead of a far, far away legislature deciding for us.
As for their priorities, they should improve our interstates, build new tunnels, and focus on light rail. Our interstates have potholes the size of small cars in some places. This is not acceptable. Furthermore, we cannot neglect our tunnels any longer. The Midtown tunnel should be 2 lanes in each direction with a right side shoulder, and the HRBT, MMBT, and Downtown tunnels should be 3 lanes in each direction with a right side shoulder. All 4 of these should also be built with a multi-purpose center tube for light rail. The HRBT should be first, followed by the Midtown. After that, the next 2 should be worked consecutively with light rail. We could build a regional world-class light rail system for cheaper than the current projects.

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