Who are they representing?

Published 9:50 am Monday, February 16, 2015

OK, we admit that we really don’t understand. The Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors, despite a line of citizens who spoke out against the latest 460 alternative, voted unanimously on Wednesday to support the Virginia Department of Transportation’s latest blunder.

They all had excuses.

Al Casteen of the Smithfield District rose his voice in expressing how frustrated he was, but he still voted Yea. Windsor District representative Delores “Dee Dee” Darden said she agreed with everything the residents said, that it’s not what they want. Yet, she voted Yea. Carrsville District representative and chair Rex Alphin expressed his sympathies to residents, but he ultimately said the supervisors are trying to make the best of the situation.

Darden further explained that when they met with Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne recently, they were basically told that it was VDOT’s way, or the highway. Darden said they wanted to play nice with VDOT.

County Administrator Anne Seward offered further clarification, saying the county believed that doing nothing when it comes to Route 460 was the worst option.

The worst option for whom?

Certainly not for Windsor. With no guarantee of an interchange, the new route would loop to the north and bypass the town all together. This could put the town’s Shirley T. Holland Intermodal Park at risk. The new route will not accommodate existing industries located there, such as Green Mountain Coffee, and it will also make the park a tougher sell to any future industries.

And what of the businesses that depend on through-traffic and the other operations that depend on the route that are located in Windsor? Perhaps they’ll move to Suffolk.

It’s certainly not good for the 22 property owners and families in Isle of Wight County who would be impacted. Local farmer Billy Gwaltney said that the 1.2 miles of road that will come onto his farm will be completely life-changing. Other farmers will be impacted, as will residents who moved there to be away from the noisy main thoroughfare.

So, who exactly is it good for?

Perhaps actually getting a road built will help VDOT save some face. Maybe it will help truckers with an alternate to Interstate 64, should traffic at the port pick up. Most Hampton Road residents seem to be content to ride out any hurricanes, so we’re not sure how it will impact any potential evacuation route.

Yes, there will be construction contracts, so some out-of-town construction executive will get his or her pocket lined with the taxpayers’ cash, and perhaps some locals will be put to work.

Seems like a lot of maybes. So, again, why vote to support something that could kill Windsor’s growth and actively hurts more than a handful of county residents? All for a road that may or may not be any more useful on a grander scale than the current route.

Who, again, are they representing?