McDonnell talks Suffolk

Published 10:19 pm Thursday, January 13, 2011

State of Commonwealth: Gov. Bob McDonnell delivered his State of the Commonwealth speech Wednesday, briefly touching in issues such as transportation funding and changes in the military.

JFCOM, 58 among governor’s concerns

Gov. Bob McDonnell made brief allusions to Suffolk twice in his State of the Commonwealth speech Wednesday evening.

McDonnell expressed disappointment in the decision to shutter U.S. Joint Forces Command. The military installation employs about 3,900 in Hampton Roads locations.

He also asked state legislators to support his transportation plan, which includes widening and improving “multiple sections” of Route 58, though he wasn’t specific about localities that may benefit from the proposal.


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Despite the decision by President Barack Obama to close the command, McDonnell was upbeat about the prospect of keeping parts of the command in Hampton Roads and the congressional leadership displayed during the fight.

“In the past few months we have witnessed bipartisan cooperation in our efforts to protect defense infrastructure in Virginia [and] to keep parts of the Joint Forces Command in Hampton Roads,” McDonnell said. “It is a matter of national security and Virginia jobs. Tonight I thank all our Congressional delegation, for their continued partnership and leadership to secure a strong national defense presence in Virginia.”

McDonnell continued: “As the Joint Forces decision demonstrates, sometimes the policies advanced in Washington, D.C., are not always positive for the Commonwealth.”

A possible boon for Suffolk, however, would be the funding of a widening project on U.S. Route 58. McDonnell’s plan would fund widening and improvements along the major Virginia highway, but no details have yet been announced on where improvements are planned.

A stretch of Route 58 in Suffolk, just to the west of the bypass, is sorely in need of widening because of current congestion, with more expected to come soon. The CenterPoint Intermodal Center project will bring more truck traffic to the area, pressing the need for the widening project.

McDonnell also mentioned a new Midtown Tunnel in Norfolk and extension of HOV lanes on Interstate 95 as other projects he would like to complete. In all, his transportation plan would fund 900 road, rail and other transit projects across the state, he said.

“It is time we reformed VDOT and built new roads, transit, rail and bridges in Virginia,” he said. “This plan will. And I ask for your support.”

A video of the speech is available at