Tell us again why we need a toll road?

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, January 8, 2014

To the Editor:

A number of reasons have been presented to justify the need for a route 460 toll road: it benefits the military, facilitates the shipping of goods into the U.S., an evacuation route, etc. All these lame excuses should be scrutinized closer. Has the military explained why it needs a fast track to Petersburg? Somehow it is so important to ship inferior foreign goods coming into the port of Norfolk and on to points west by truck when there is a very serviceable railroad in place that can move far more tonnage on far less fuel than hundreds of trucks roaring down a toll road day and night. We are to believe there is need for a whole new road at a cost of $1.4 billion that may be used as an evacuation route on the rare occasion of a catastrophic hurricane. Wouldn’t an extra lane or two and bypasses around towns on the present 460 serve the same purpose? And when has any government project ever come in anywhere near budget? This is taxpayers’ money being blown for most of the cost, don’t forget.

This new toll road scheme is yet another example of how government disregards wetland regulations it imposes on everyone else when environmental issues get in the way of its agenda. Two hundred million [dollars] has already been spent on questionable studies that conveniently understated the environmental impact this toll road would cause. Has anyone calculated the impact on Virginia’s or Southampton’s economy from loss of valuable productive farmland? Where are the regulations protecting farmland from government encroachment and uncontrolled development? This is an outgoing governor’s pet project that serves little purpose beyond an imagined legacy, but the consequences of that legacy will be with us forever more. It should be stopped now!

William Hancock