Governor coming to rally support

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 1, 2002

Gov. Mark Warner will be in Suffolk this weekend rallying support for passage of the Hampton Roads Transportation Referendum.

Warner, along with members of the Suffolk City Council and other civic leaders, will be at the Holiday Inn, 2345 Pruden Blvd. at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The public is invited to attend the hour-long event.

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This summer, the Suffolk City Council, like the governing bodies of other localities in the region, passed resolutions supporting passage of the referendum.

On Nov. 5, voters will be asked to decide whether they will support a proposal to raise the region’s sale tax by one cent, will all money being used to fund six major road projects over the next three decades. Plans call for the sales tax to increase from 4.5 cents to 5.5 cents per dollar, to pay for five major road projects, as well as transit improvements, over the next 20 years.

The projects would rival the 20-year road construction boom in the early 1970s to the early 1990s, when the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel and Interstates 664 and 464 were built and the Downtown Tunnel and Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel were expanded.

The projects and their costs, adjusted to 2023 dollars, are:

nA third bridge-tunnel connecting South Hampton Roads and the Peninsula – $4.3 billion. Two sets of bridges and tunnels, with lanes reserved for transit or HOV, would run from Norfolk International Terminals to Craney Island in Portsmouth, then parallel to the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel.

nWidening Interstate 64 on the Peninsula – $1.1 billion. The highway would be expanded from four to six lanes, plus two HOV lanes, from Bland Boulevard in Newport News to the James City County/New Kent County line.

nWidening U.S. 460 – $618 million. The road would be rebuilt to interstate standards from Bowers Hill in Chesapeake to the Suffolk Bypass. A new four-lane highway would be built from the west end of the Suffolk Bypass to the Isle of Wight/Southampton County line.

nImproving the Midtown Tunnel and the Martin Luther King Freeway – $660 million. A two-lane tunnel would be built parallel to the existing tunnel, and Martin Luther King Freeway would be extended to I-264.

nThe Southeastern Parkway and Greenbelt – $870 million. A new 19-mile, six-lane parkway, including HOV lanes, would be built from I-264 in Virginia Beach to the Oak Grove Connector in Chesapeake.

nImproving mass transit – $200 million. An additional $10 million a year for 20 years would be spent on buses or some type of passenger rail, possibly light rail, high-speed rail or magnetic levitation.

Unlike the other proposals, a plan has not yet been developed for how the money would be spent.