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Archived Story

Invest in the future — here and now

Published 9:34pm Thursday, June 20, 2013

Traveling out to the future of the Port of Virginia yesterday aboard a replica paddleboat was a bit of a contradiction, but the contrast of the faux-old and the new set the importance of a project underway at Craney Island in even starker relief.

When the first phase of the $1.2 billion Craney Island Marine Terminal is completed by 2028, which is what they’re estimating, Hampton Roads’ position in the future of shipping on the East Coast will be even more secure.

You might drive the region’s main arteries, notice seemingly lots of marine terminals dotted around and think that future is already secure enough.

But in an industry in which clients will ship to a port thousands of miles away then rail the freight across country if it works out cheaper and still arrives on time, the commonwealth is showing admirable vision in expanding facilities.

Aboard the Virginia Port Authority cruise to Craney Island, reported elsewhere in this edition, were several representatives of businesses located in Suffolk.

Anyone not asleep on their feet would have heard something about the importance of the port to Suffolk’s future, but the fact is, that importance can’t be stressed enough.

Suffolk is the state’s largest independent city by area, and that’s one reason so many distribution and warehousing companies are locating here, instead of other places in Hampton Roads.

The city has room to grow, and the port will fuel that growth.

While the Port of Virginia is holding up its end of that bargain, other authorities will need to continue envisioning and realizing other infrastructure projects to keep things moving.

The expansion of Route 58, the new Route 460 and business parks are a good start. But to keep the furnace of job creation stoked, the projects will need to keep coming, and also be more varied.

Businesses looking to invest here want to see that city leaders are willing to pursue projects that invest in our future. It’s not only transportation; it’s also the schools and recreation facilities needed to attract workers and support families.

The idea of investing is spending money not for today, but for tomorrow, a time when its fruits will return to us tenfold.

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