Port favors giving money to 460

Published 11:07 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Virginia Port Authority’s board is considering providing funding to help with the project to build a new alignment of U.S. Route 460.

In their meeting Tuesday, board members discussed providing about $5 million a year beginning in 2013 to help move the road project along. The money would come from the authority’s portion of the Transportation Trust Fund, which collects all the gas and vehicle taxes, car titling fees and other such revenues. The authority gets 4.2 percent of that fund — about $35 million — yearly for capital improvements, spokesman Joe Harris said.

The board agreed in principle to helping fund the road, but the details have yet to be worked out.

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The announcement came just one day before that project and others were discussed in the City Council retreat. See related story.

The Route 460 project has been on the books for some time, but has moved full speed ahead since Gov. Bob McDonnell announced it as his top transportation priority. The state has committed $500 million to the project.

The new road would be a 55-mile, four-lane, limited access highway with interchanges initially only at Route 58 in Suffolk and at I-295 in Prince George County. More interchanges could be added later.

Three private companies are vying to design, build and maintain the road. Cintra Infraestructuras S.A.U., 460 Partners Inc. and Multimodal Solutions all have submitted conceptual proposals. Detailed proposals are due to the Virginia Department of Transportation in January 2012.

Proposed tolls range from $5.50 to $11 for cars, but the money from the state was intended to help lessen the hit to motorists’ wallets.

Improvements on the roadway would be valuable to the port because Route 460 carries numerous trucks to and from the port.

The Virginia Port Authority board likely will discuss the issue more in a special meeting in October and vote on it in November, Harris said.