Letter – Vote with the people, oppose rezoning for Port 460 project

Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

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To the Editor:

As City Council prepares to vote on the Port 460 issue, I’m struck by what was not addressed in Suffolk’s official analysis of the project. I found the report of that analysis to be laser focused on the Port 460 facility, as if nothing else really matters.

Project positives were very visible: tax revenue, jobs, turn lanes and stop lights. Project negatives were not: its location at the junction of the two most dangerous roads in Virginia, higher risk of accidents/fatalities up and down U.S. Routes 58 and 460, increased gridlock potential on U.S. 58, exacerbating existing congestion and dangers on U.S. 460 from Suffolk to Petersburg and degradation of Suffolk’s livability and image. Issues such as these should be obvious to anyone charged with doing what’s best for Suffolk and its people, but in this case it fell entirely to the citizens to bring them up.

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The vote looms, and still these issues go unaddressed: no crash probability analysis, no funded plan to complete road improvements before we double the traffic and no changes to preserve quality of life. Instead, we get “the trucks are coming whether we do this or not.”

To that, I say:  If Choice A is thousands of trucks passing through on their way to somewhere else, and Choice B is those same trucks exiting onto a single overcrowded highway, shifting lanes in a hurry, and turning sharply into a warehouse monstrosity, I respectfully request Choice A.

Council members have said they have never seen such public opposition to any other issue. Even the project’s supporters know in their hearts there is no borough of Suffolk whose residents would welcome Port 460 into their backyard. Council, please “vote with the people.” If, after all this, you will not support the people now, then when will you?

Mike Host