McDonnell talks 460, OLF, jobs

Published 8:37 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

FRANKLIN—A proposed toll road to run parallel to existing Route 460 is the “the most important project in the Hampton Roads region,” according to Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, who made a campaign stop Tuesday in Franklin.

“I introduced the legislation to create a Route 460 Commission whose sole goal was to coordinate and lean on VDOT to get that project going as fast as possible,” McDonnell said during a stop at The Tidewater News offices. “I think it’s the most important project in the Hampton Roads region — for the military, for hurricane evacuation, for economic development. It will give another very important artery between Hampton Roads and Richmond, and I don’t think we ought to make any more excuses about why we can’t get that road built.”

McDonnell is spending 30 days traveling all over Virginia in an RV and this week making stops along Route 58.

“The top issue during this campaign is providing more jobs and more opportunity for our citizens,” he said.

For Western Tidewater and other areas that rely heavily on crops for prosperity, McDonnell said he would appoint a secretary of agriculture “whose first and foremost duties would be to find new markets for Virginia agricultural products.”

“The key is not to abandon agriculture but to find ways to promote it better,” he said. “We have to find new opportunities to expand the use for agricultural products.”

McDonnell said he is committed to keeping open lines of communication with more rural areas in the state and creating jobs here.

He would create a deputy secretary of commerce and trade who would focus on economic development and job creation in rural areas.

As for the hot-button issue of whether the Navy should build an outlying landing field in Western Tidewater, McDonnell said he would need more data to make an informed decision on whether to support or reject the move.

“I’m a retired Army officer. I do think we have to be sure that we’re supporting the United States military in doing what they need to do to train,” he said. “I do think before the Navy makes any decisions about where to site the field that it’s vitally important to have input from local residents. It’s very important to consider historic preservation. I certainly want to do everything I can to on the one hand protect the interests of the citizens, both their quality of life, and their property rights but secondly make sure that the Navy has a home so we don’t lose Oceana.

“I’m hoping that there will be some accommodation and it may very well be that they find a good site in North Carolina and that will take care of everybody’s concerns.”

To hear a recording of the entire interview, log on to