Transportation Funding Breakthrough For Hampton Roads

Transportation Funding Breakthrough For Hampton Roads


>>HRTAC IS A NEW GOVERNMENT
ENTITY, AND IT’S
BEEN A REAL CHALLENGE SETTING UP A NEW
GOVERNMENT MOVING FORWARD AND ALSO MOVING QUICKLY WITH
AMBITIOUS APPROACHES TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS WE’VE BEEN TALKING
ABOUT THE LAST 30 YEARS.>>Bob: I WAS GOING TO SAY, I
CAME INTO THE AREA BACK IN 1980. THE TOLLS WERE STILL ON THE
HAMPTON ROADS BRIDGE TUNNEL. THERE WERE NO TOLLS ON THE OTHER
TUNNELS. AND THERE WAS TALK OF ADDING A
NEW BRIDGE TUNNEL. 1980 TO 2016, STILL TALK ABOUT
IT, TOLLS ARE GOING ALL OVER THE PLACE, AND THAT’S MY OPENING
QUESTION TO YOU, SENATOR. YOU TAKE A LONG — A LOT OF
CONVERSATION, AND YOU PUT A DOLLAR SIGN ON IT, WHICH I
FORGOT HOW MANY ZEROS, BUT A LOT.
>>RIGHT.>>Bob: AND A LOT MORE ZEROS
THAN I CAN AFFORD, EVEN ONE PAYCHECK AT A TIME OR ONE TOM —
TOLL AT A TIME. SO HOW DO YOU MAKE IT WORK?
>>WHAT IT TAKES IS MONEY.>>Bob: THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE,
RIGHT?>>IT TOOK A NUMBER OF YEARS,
BUT FINALLY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AND I WORKED VERY
HARD, I WAS PART OF THE THIRD CROSSING COMMISSION, CREATED THE
THIRD CROSSING COMMISSION IN THE HOUSE IN THE 1990s, BUT I’VE
BEEN AT THIS A WHILE, BUT WE WERE ABLE TO FINLEY PUSH ACROSS
THE — FINALLY ABLE TO PUSH ACROSS THE TRANSPORTATION
FUNDING BILL IN THAT IT RAISED NEW MONEY AND CREATED THE HRTAC,
THE HAMPTON ROADS TRANSPORTATION ACCOUNTABILITY COMMISSION, WHICH
RAISES LOCAL MONEY TO BE USED ON ONLY CONGESTION-RELIEVING
TUNNEL, BRIDGE AND ROAD PROJECTS, AND THOSE ARE ONLY THE
PROJECTS THAT ARE TASKED OR AGREED TO BY THE HAMPTON ROADS
TRANSPORTATION PLANNING ORGANIZATION, WHICH IS THE
MAYORS AND CHAIRS OF THE COUNTIES AND CITIES IN OUR
REGION. THOSE PROJECTS, WUNTION
APPROVED, IT — ONCE APPROVED, IT BECOMES UP TO US AND SHEP AND
KEVIN TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE’RE GOING TO GET FROM WHAT’S
APPROVED INTO A LOGICAL ORDER THAT KEEPS EVERYBODY HAPPY AND
WE REALLY HAD SOME VERY, VERY GOOD NEWS, I BELIEVE.
A LOT OF THINGS WE TALKED ABOUT FOR A LONG TIME ARE REALLY
HAPPENING AND GOING TO HAPPEN IN RELATIVELY SHORT ORDER.
>>Bob: LET ME BACK UP BECAUSE YOU HIT IT ON THE HEAD.
IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY.>>RIGHT.
>>Bob: WHEN WE TALK ABOUT NEW MONEY, OLD MONEY, TRANSFERRED —
WHERE DOES THE MONEY BEGINS?>>IT BEGINS OBVIOUSLY IN THE
TAXPAYERS’ POCKET, BUT WE HAVE RAISED REGIONALLY HERE, I
BELIEVE LAST COUNT, OVER $410 MILLION IN THE BANK TODAY
TO GET STARTED ON THESE PROJECTS BECAUSE OF THE MONEY RAILZED AND
THE MONEY THAT — RAISED AND THE MONEY THAT WE CAN PROJECT
RAISING INTO THE FUTURE AND WE’VE BEEN ABLE TO AUTHORIZE AND
SIGN UNFOR THE EXPANSION OF 64 — SIGN UP FOR THE EXPANSION
OF 64 ON THE PENINSULA. CONSTRUCTION IS ALREADY
UNDERWAY.>>Bob: THANK YOU!
>>ON PHASE WHAT WE CALL ONE, TWO AND THREE WHICH TAKES YOU
FROM JEFFERSON AVENUE BASICALLY TO 199, THE OUTLET MALLS OR
PIERCE’S BARBEQUE. NO FREE ADVERTISING.
>>Bob: NOW YOU GOT MY ATTENTION.
>>NOW YOU KNOW HOW FAR. THE INTERCHANGE AND THE HIGH
RISE BRIDGE, AND THE QUESTION BECOMES, YOU DIDN’T TALK ABOUT
THE HAMPTON ROADS BRIDGE TUNNEL AND WHY IS THAT?
WE HAVE FUNDED, THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS HAS REQUIRED US TO DO
ANOTHER ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT TO DETERMINE THAT
ROUTE THAT’S THE MOST FEASIBLE. WE HAVE FUNDED THAT, THAT’S
UNDERWAY. KEVIN CAN GIVE YOU THE DETAILS
ON IT, BUT WE’RE ABOUT 18 MONTHS AWAY FROM SUBMITTING TO THE
CORPS. THE CORPS WILL TAKE A PERIOD OF
TIME TO EVALUATE AND SAY, THIS IS WHAT YOU CAN DO, AND THEN WE
CAN START TO GET OUR HANDS AROUND THAT PRICE TAG.
>>Bob: SO THE OPTIONS THAT THE CORPS IS LOOKING AT ARE —
>>WELL, THERE ARE ACTUALLY ABOUT 11 SEGMENTS OF INDEPENDENT
OPERATIONAL UTILITIES WHICH MEANS THEY’RE DESIGNING A
PROGRAM AND DO AN ANALYSIS THAT GO ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE
ORIGINAL AROUND 2000-ISH STUDIES OF THE PROCESS MOVING FORWARD.
WE WAITED SO LONG AS A REGION TO DO CONSTRUCTION ON THE PROJECT,
IT’S SIMILAR TOABLE PERMIT ON A HOUSE.
IT EXPIRES, SO WE HAD TO GO BACK AND DUN THE DOCUMENT BASED ON —
UPDATE THE DOCUMENT BASED ON CURRENT CONDITIONS AND LAWS IN
PLACE TODAY. IT’S PREMATURE TO DETERMINE YET
WHAT THE CROSSING IS, BUT WE’RE AMASSING FUNDS IN THE 2022 PLAN
TO FUN THE FIRST PHASE, PUT MONEY DOWN TO START A MATCH AND
THE FIRST PHASE OF THE PROJECT TO BE CONSTRUCTED, BUILT, AND IN
SERVICE BY 2028.>>Bob: THAT’S 2000 —
>>28.>>Bob: SO THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT
THERE WITH SHOVELS THAT WOULD LIKE TO START TODAY.
IS THE PRESSURE THAT YOU’RE FEELING?
>>WELL, I FELT THE PRESSURE A LONG TIME.
[ LAUGHTER ]>>Bob: I WAS GOING TO SAY.
>>UNTIL I SOLD THE SHIPYARD LAST JUNE, I LIVED IN VIRGINIA
BEACH AND COMMUTED TO NEWPORT NEWS EVERY DAY, SO THIS WAS A
REAL EXPERIENCE TO ME AND, YOU KNOW, WATCHED THE TRAFFIC GET
WORSE AND WORSE, THE BACK-UP, AND IT’S AN EVERYDAY EVENT FROM
NORFOLK BACK TO THE PENINSULA IN THE AFTERNOON, FOUR OR FIVE-MILE
BACKUP IS STANDARD AND IN THE SUMMERTIME, IT GETS EVEN WORSE.
SO CLEARLY IT HAD TO BE ADDRESSED.
IT’S AN ECONOMIC CHOKE HOLD. THE FLEET FORCES COMMAND SAID I
CAN’T RECOMMEND ANY MORE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENTS HERE
UNTIL THE TRANSPORTATION PROBLEM IS RESOLVED.
THIS IS A MAJOR IMPEDIMENT TO ANY TYPE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH IN
OUR AREA. WE RECOGNIZE THAT AND WE’VE GOT
TO CLEAR THAT CHOKE POINT AND WE’RE MOVING AS RAPIDLY AS WE
CAN TO DO THAT. ONCE THE SEIS IS IN, THE FUNDING
STREAM IS THERE AND THE QUESTIONS BECOME AS WE START TO
NEGOTIATE, WILL IT HAVE TO BE TOLLED OR NOT.
AND THERE’S ANOTHER DISCUSSION.>>Bob: YOU LAUGH AT THAT ONE.
WHAT’S THE DISCUSSION GOING TO BE?
>>THE DISCUSSION FIRST WILL BE, AS FRANK SAID, WHICH OPTION DO
WE PURSUE. I WON’T GET TO MAKE THAT CHOICE,
OTHERS WILL MAKE THAT CHOICE, BUT I’LL CERTAINLY LEAN IN AND
THEN IT’S HOW YOU PAY FOR IT.>>Bob: I’M GLAD YOU GUYS ARE
ASKING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS INSTEAD OF ME.
HOW DO YOU PAY FOR IT?>>THERE’S LOTS OF DIFFERENT
WAYS TO PAY FOR IT. WE CAN RAISE MORE REVENUE,
EITHER THROUGH TOLLING OR OTHER TAX INCREASES AND I’M NOT A TOLL
FAN. I’M NOT A TOLL FAN BECAUSE I
DON’T THINK IT’S — I KNOW IT’S NOT AN EFFICIENT WAY TO PAY FOR
TRANSPORTATION. WE DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THE
COST IS YET OR DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THE CROSSING WOULD
BE YET. I’M A FAN OF A NEW CROSSING
BECAUSE I THINK IT HELPS US IN MANY, MANY WAYS, AS OPPOSED TO
JUST MAKING THE OLD CROSSING BIGGER.
ANYTHING HAPPENS THEN, YOU STILL HAVE A PROBLEM AT THE TUNNEL.
>>Bob: I’LL JUST MENTION WILLOUGHBY.
THAT’S ALL I’LL SAY.>>THAT’S RIGHT.
I’M A FAN OF A NEW CROSSING. I THINK IT MAKES ALL SORTS OF
SENSE, BUT I DON’T GET TO MAKE THAT DECISION AND WE’LL MAKE IT
IN DUE TIME, BUT IT’S ALL COMES DOWN TO MONEY.
>>Bob: YOU’VE KIND OF TEASED ME.
I’M GOING TO ASK THE SENATOR IN ONE BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO RUN
INTO THIS IN RICHMOND. WHAT RESIDENTS SHOULD PAY FOR.
IS IT A STATEWIDE ISSUE OR A LOCAL ISSUE?
>>CLEARLY, THE ORIGINAL PROJECT, 64, WE’RE ALREADY ON
QUEUE TO GET 150 MILLION STATEWIDE MONEY ADDED TO THE
POT. WE FEEL VERY POSITIVE WE’LL SEE
ANOTHER 100, $200 MILLION ON THE HIGH RISE BRIDGE OF STATE MONEY
BECAUSE THAT MEETS THE NEW HB-2 REQUIREMENTS TO DO THAT.
I’M QUITE CERTAIN WHEN WE COME TO AND GET A FINAL DECISION FROM
THE CORPS OF THIS IS WHAT YOU WILL BUILD, THAT CLEARLY IF
THERE’S A CONGESTION-RELIEVING PROJECT IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF
VIRGINIA SHORT OF MAYBE A COUPLE IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA, THIS HAS
TO BE THE NEXT ON THE PRIORITY, SO IT’S GOING TO QUALIFY FOR A
SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT. AS SHEP AND ALL OF US START TO
CRUNCH THE NUMBERS, WE’LL BE ABLE TO FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH
STATEWIDE MONEY TO THROW INTO THE POT, WHAT’S THE COST OF THIS
PROJECT, WHAT DO WE GENERATE LOCALLY AND HOW WE MAKE UP THE
DIFFERENCE IF THERE’S A DIFFERENCE TO BE MADE, AND THERE
WILL BE ON THIS PROJECT.>>Bob: BECAUSE IF WE LOOK
BIGGER THAN JUST TRANSPORTATION SCARS ON THE — CARS ON THE
HIGHWAY, WHEN WE START TALKING ABOUT THE 21st CENTURY, WHICH
THE CITY OF NORFOLK IS WITH VISION 2100, THAT’S A MAJOR PART
OF OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PATTERN TOO.
>>ABSOLUTELY. I MEAN, WE’RE AT THE LEVEL WE’RE
AT RIGHT NOW. WE HAVE THE MILITARY
INSTALLATIONS WE HAVE RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE THE TOURISTS WE HAVE
RIGHT NOW. WE KNOW WE’VE GOT TO ELEVATE THE
LEVEL OF ECONOMY IN HAMPTON ROADS AND WE KNOW OUR
TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IS CHOKING US.
CLEARLY, IF THERE’S A SINGLE PRIORITY THAT YOU SAY WHAT’S THE
MOST THAT WE CAN DO FROM GOVERNMENT TO HELP ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT IN OUR REGION, THERE’S ONE THING AND IT’S
TRANSPORTATION. AND QUITE FRANKLY, IT’S THESE
CROSSINGS. THEY’RE THE CHOKE POINTS AND
THEY’RE THE AREAS THAT WE’VE GOT TO ADDRESS AND ADDRESS IT AS
RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE AND IT’S GOT TO BE THE FOCUS OF THE PRIORITY
OF SPENDING MOST REGIONALLY ANNUAL AT THE STATE LEVEL,
AND — AND AT THE STATE LEVEL AND I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE
THAT NEGLIGENT AND AS LONG AS — MESSAGE AND AS LONG AS I’M IN
OFFICE, I’LL CONTINUE TO CARRY THE BANNER GO AND I THINK I
HEARD SHEP –>>Bob: AND I THINK I HEARD SHEP
SAY SOMETHING ABOUT TOLLS.>>LET’S ME SAY, IT’S NOT JUST
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND THE MILITARY.
IT’S ALSO A SAFETY ISSUE. WHEN I WAS ON THE COMMONWEALTH
TRANSPORTATION BOARD, I THINK WE FIGURED OUT IT WAS TWO AND A
HALF DAYS FROM THE WORD GO TO EVACUATE THE AREA.
>>Bob: AND IT’S A SUNNY DAY.>>TWO AND A HALF DAYS, I MEAN
24 HOURS A DAY, ALL DAY LONG, TO GET PEOPLE OUT OF HERE AND AS
FRANK SAID, IT’S THE CHOKE POINT, SO WE HAVE TO FIGURE THAT
OUT.>>AND LET ME JUST SAY THIS,
BOB. WE HAD A LONG DISCUSSION THIS
SESSION AND WE’LL HAVE ANOTHER ONE NEXT SESSION AND AS LONG AS
I’M UP THERE ABOUT IT. I DESPISE TOLLS AND FOR THIS
REASON. THE CARE AND FEEDING OF THE
TOLLS TAKES MONEY OUT OF THE TAXPAYERS’ POCKET AND BUILDS
NOTHING. THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE A TOLL
MEN YOU’RE BORROWING MONEY SO YOU’RE PAYING TWO FOR ONE FOR
THE COST OF THE PROJECT. I’M OF THE SCHOOL THAT SAYS IF
WE’RE TAKING A ZLAR OUT OF TAXPAYERS POCKET, LET’S PUT A
DOLLAR INTO ROAD CONSTRUCTION. LET’S NOT TAKE TWO DOLLARS OUT
FOR A DOLLAR’S WORTH OF ROAD CONSTRUCTION.
WE HAVE A SLIDING SCALE TAX, A PERCENTAGE TAX ON FUEL RIGHT
NOW. WE DIDN’T PUT A FLOOR ON IT FOR
THE REGION, SO THE COLLAPSE OF FUEL PRICE MANY, WE’VE SEEN A
CORRESPONDING COLLAPSE IN REVENUES COLLECT AND THE
TAXPAYERS ARE PAYING MORE MONEY WITH VERY EXPENSIVE GAS THAN
THEY WOULD BE WITHOUT THAT. WHAT MY BILL DID WAS REVERT BACK
TO A PER-GALLON TAX, WHICH RAISE AND LOT OF MONEY WHILE THE GAS
PRICES ARE SO CHEAP, BUT IT GETS BACK UP TO WHERE IT WAS BEFORE,
THEY WILL PAY LESS TAX MONEY THAN THEY WOULD, WHEN THEY LEAST
CAN AFFORD TO DO IT, I WANT TO TAKE LESS OUT OF THE TAXPAYERS’
POCKET, AND LESS WHAT WE HAVE ON THE BOOKS RIGHT NOW.
WHAT THAT WOULD HAVE MEANT IS WE WOULD HAVE MATCHED A LOT MORE
MONEY UP FRONT TO PAY FOR THIS THIRD CROSSING, HAMPTON ROADS,
WHATEVER THE CORPS SAYS, AND THE LIKELIHOOD OF TOLLS DIMINISHES
SIGNIFICANTLY TO THE POINT WHERE WE MAY HAVE TO END UP BORROWING
MONEY, BUT WE DON’T HAVE TO HAVE TOLLS TO PAY FOR IT.
THAT DISCOUNTS THE NAVAL CROSSING, AND THAT PORTION WOULD
HAVE TO BE TOLD AND EVERYBODY UNDERSTANDS, SO I DON’T WANT TO
MISLEAD FOLKS INTO THINKING THAT WON’T BE TOLLED, BUT THERE’S A
HIGH LIKELIHOOD THAT WHAT WE DO WITH THE BRIDGE TUNNEL WILL NOT
HAVE TO BE TOLLED.>>Bob: AND YOU SAID SOMETHING
ON THE SOFA, THERE’S A THIRD RAIL AND THERE’S THAT
THREE-LETTER WORD.>>I MEAN, I — THE.
>>Bob: I DON’T EVEN WANT TO SAY THAT.
>>NO, NO, TAX, I’LL SAY IT. THE 2313 BILL WAS A TAX
INCREASE, MAKE NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, BUT IT WAS A TAX INCREASE
FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, PERIOD. PUT A LOT OF PEOPLE TO WORK AND
IT WAS — AND WE’RE SEEING THE RESULTS.
YOU’RE SEEING THE RESULTS ALL OVER HAMPTON ROADS TODAY.
I THINK THAT’S WHAT TAXPAYERS WANT TO SEE.
THEY WANT TO SEE RESULTS AND THEY’RE SEEING IT.
THE REPAVING OF 64/264, THAT WAS AN ABOMINATION.
>>Bob: AGAIN, THANK YOU.>>THAT WAS STATEWIDE MONEY
APPLIED HERE. IN MY DISTRICT, THE BRIDGE
REPLACEMENT, THERE’S PROJECTS ALL OVER THE REGION OUTSIDE OF
WHAT WE JUST TALKED ABOUT GOING ON BECAUSE OF THAT BILL AND
TAXPAYERS SAY WE SEE THAT. NOW WHAT I WANT TAXPAYERS TO
UNDERSTAND IS IF WE’RE GOING TO DO IT — AND WE’RE GOING TO DO
IT. MAKE NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, WE’RE
GOING TO DO THE THIRD CROSSING, WHATEVER IT IS.
THE QUESTION IS DO YOU WANT TO PAY TWO FOR ONE.
DO YOU WANT TO PAY THE TOLLS OR DO — OUR PARENTS, THANK GOD,
OUR PARENTS HAD THE VISION UNDER EISENHOWER TO SAY, YOU KNOW
WHAT? WE NEED AN INTERSTATE HIGHWAY
SYSTEM. WE’RE NOT GOING TO TOLL IT, YOU
KNOW, WE’RE GOING TO BUILD AN INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM AND
WE’RE GOING TO PUT A FEDERAL FUELS TAX AND HERE WE ARE TODAY.
WE ARE THE BENEFICIARIES AND OUR CHILDREN, OUR GRANDCHILDREN WILL
BE THE BENEFICIARY OF OF THE DECISIONS OUR PARENTS MADE BACK
IN THE 1950s AND IT’S TIME FOR OUR GENERATION TO STEP FORWARD
AND SAY WE’RE NOT GOING TO PAY TOLLS, TAKE TWO FOR ONE OUT OF
OUR POCKETS, OUT OF OUR CHILDREN’S POCKETS AND OUR
GRANDCHILDREN’S POCKETS, WHICH IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BORROW
A 30-YEAR BOND. IT’S A LITTLE AMOUNT NOW WITH
HUGE DIVIDENDS ON THE BACK SIDE.>>AND YOU NEED TO REMEMBER TOO,
BOB, THERE’S A COST OF DOING NOTHING.
FRANK SHOWED A LOT OF COURAGE, TO YOUR POINT AND OTHERS, TO GO
UP THERE AND GET THE MONEY WE NEEDED, BUT THERE’S A HUGE COST
A BIGGER COST OF DOING NOTHING.>>Bob: I THINK THE MAIN THING
TO DO NOW –>>I’M SEEING IT BACK HERE TOO.
>>Bob: I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR OUR VIEWERS TO REALLY TRY TO
MAKE SENSE OF THAT AND I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR COMING ON REALLY
TO PUT 50 YEARS INTO ABOUT 15 MINUTES OF A VERY COMPLICATED —
BECAUSE IF I WANT TO PUT A PATIO ON MY BACKYARD, I BRIZ A SHOVEL
OUT — BRING A SHOVEL OUT, BUY SOME DIRT AND I DO IT, BUT IT’S
A COMPLICATED PROJECT. I WANT TO CHALLENGE THE VIEWERS
TO TAKE AN INTEREST, GET INFORMED, GET ENGAGED AND KNOW
WHAT IT TAKES TO BUILD A HIGHWAY.
THANKS A LOT.>>THANK YOU.
>>THANKS FOR JOINING US.

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