No need for passenger rail

Published 7:10 pm Saturday, January 1, 2011

To the editor:

Passenger rail service disappeared from the Norfolk and Portsmouth area, along with ferries and streetcars, for a reason. There were improved ways of getting to and from where people wanted to go.

Giving $87 million to Norfolk Southern to improve their rail tracks is a waste of taxpayers’ transportation money. Norfolk Southern is one of the most profitable companies in America. The company should upgrade its own rails.

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We do not have a rail passenger service problem. Amtrak is available in Newport News. We do have a road network problem.

Politicians should stop wasting money on rails, surveys, consultants and pie-in-the-sky ideas and solve the highway problem. I have some ideas for solving some of the Tidewater area’s road problems.

  • Build another high-rise bridge over the Elizabeth River.
  • Widen Route 64 to Bower’s Hill.
  • Widen Route 58 to the Suffolk Bypass.
  • Complete the Southeast Bypass around Suffolk to Route 13 South.
  • Improve Route 460 to Route 295.
  • Replace the King’s Highway Bridge, which was torn down years ago and was not replaced.

To fund these projects, an increase in the gasoline tax will be needed to pay off the bonds that finance these projects.

We do not need tolls on roads, tunnels or bridges that we have already paid for. We do not need so-called public-private partnerships to build our roads with a guaranteed profit for private companies and more taxes for the rest of us.

William H. Harward