Over half of Suffolk opposed road plan

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Nearly 65 percent of the city’s voters refused to support a sales-tax increase to fund six major transportation projects in Hampton Roads.

But most of those same voters backed the General Assembly’s proposed bond referendums earmarked for capital improvements at colleges and renovations/additions to dozens of state parks.

Exactly 8,892 Suffolk residents voted against the Eastern Virginia Sales and Use Tax, which would have funded $7.7 billion in regional transportation projects over the next two decades. One of the proposed projects was the $618 million widening of U.S. 460 through Suffolk and Isle of Wight County.

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Only 5,711 local voters supported the referendum.

A bond referendum authorizing the General Assembly to issue general obligation bonds totaling $900.4 million for capital improvements at the state’s higher educational facilities won the backing of 9,875 Suffolk voters. That’s more than double the 4,132 people who opposed it.

That referendum includes $500,000 for renovations to the Franklin campus of Paul D. Camp Community College.

Most Suffolk voters also supported a bond referendum allowing the General Assembly to issue $119 million in general obligation bonds, which would be earmarked for acquisition and capital improvements to the state’s parks and recreational facilities. The proposal garnered support from 9,118 city voters.

That proposal had 4,599 opposing votes.

On Tuesday afternoon, at the King’s Fork community house, several voters predicted the transportation referendum would fail.

&uot;I don’t think it is going to pass,&uot; said Sylvia Whitfield. &uot;I drive down I-264 every day and it’s a big headache coming and going.

Project proposed through the referendum might alleviate some of the traffic problems.

&uot;But they are doing these projects one at the time,&uot; she said. &uot;Half of us won’t be alive to see some of these projects complete.&uot;

A Little Creek Road resident, who refused to give her name, agreed.

&uot;We’re paying too much now in taxes,&uot; she said. &uot;And the plan won’t help us back here (referring to Suffolk, relative to the rest of Hampton Roads.) The plan is full of mud.

&uot;And all that money for parks and recreation,&uot; she continued. &uot;I think Gov. (Mark) Warner has got a knot in his head.&uot;