Two of Suffolk’s capital projects killed in Senate budget committee

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2005

State lawmakers’ efforts to win funding for two major capital projects in Suffolk died before making it to the General Assembly floor.

A bill introduced by Sen. Frederick M. Quayle, R-Suffolk, that called for $6 million in the 2005 budget for a new health and human services building never made it out of the Senate budget committee, Martha McClees, the city’s lobbyist in Richmond, told the Suffolk City Council during Wednesday’s work session.

Del. Chris Jones’ bill proposing a $2 million allocation for the construction of the proposed Great Dismal Swamp Interpretation Center in 2006 also died in session.

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&uot;Both are off the table for this year,&uot; said McClees.

&uot;Both Jones and Quayle said they had been given assurances that the projects look favorable for next year.&uot;

In past months, council has discussed putting the city’s Department of Social Services and the Suffolk Health Department under the same roof and moving it closer to the downtown community.

The city has looked at a site near the Department of Motor Vehicles on Division Street, McClees said.

The city has proposed building the interpretive center across the street from the new Hilton Garden Inn, behind the historic courthouse at the intersection of North Main Street and East Constance Road.

Although the proposal is still being reviewed by the National Park Service, U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes has endorsed it.

Gov. Mark Warner’s recommendation that a $256 million fund be established to help localities address deficits created by cost overruns on Virginia Department of Transportation projects is likely to be approved, McClees said.

The fund is included in both the Senate and House budget proposals, she said.

The proposal would play a significant role in helping the city recover from overruns related to the North Main Street project, McClees said.

&uot;Right now, we are in a deficit with VDOT,&uot; she said.

&uot;The governor’s plan would eliminate $1 million in deficit and put us back on a level playing field with them.&uot;