Job one for lawmakers: Roads

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This week, the Virginia General Assembly will convene its 2011 legislative session for the purpose of conducting the people’s business, just as it has done since first meeting at Jamestown in 1619.

The issues facing legislators will be daunting as usual. Funding for public education and social services will be closely scrutinized. The role of government will be debated. Every item will be on the table when it comes to maintaining a constitutionally mandated balanced budget.

Few issues, however, will command as much attention or deserve final resolution as much as a comprehensive transportation bill. For years the General Assembly has booted about this political football and has been content to pass the issue along to the next session. The next session is here; the time for action is now.

A comprehensive transportation bill is vital to the future economic stability and vitality of our region. Our economic future is inextricably linked to the port in Norfolk, specifically our ability to move cargo to and from the port and our major interstates. Unfunded, shovel-ready projects have been sitting on the shelf for years.

Here at home, one such project is the proposed flyover exchange on Route 58 in Courtland. Safety and future growth demand its hasty completion.

This year, we hope state legislators will take seriously the important business of the localities and constituents they were elected to serve. We can go at least one year without commending a high school basketball player on scoring his or her 1000th point or recognizing a farmer for growing a 900-pound pumpkin. We can’t, however, go another year without passing a comprehensive transportation bill.