The third in a series of “town hall” meetings to discuss how to fix
’s transportation problems was scheduled for this
evening, Tuesday, Nov. 22, at
At a similar meeting last week in
suggestions for how to solve transportation problems weren’t in short supply – and big trucks took it on the chin. Most speakers in the crowd Wednesday, Nov.
17, said the worst problem is large-truck traffic on Interstate 81.
Additional forums are scheduled Tuesday, Nov. 29, in
and Thursday, Dec. 1 in
Gov.-elect Tim Kaine said he has plans to announce seven or eight more forums
Among the ideas offered to Kaine at the Nov. 17 forum were greater use
of railroads to haul freight, higher taxes and more State Police patrols.
Kaine was the first to suggest greater use of the rails. He told those
gathered at the
an extra carload on a freight train takes the place of about 12 trucks, The Associated Press reported.
Granger Macfarlane, a former state senator from
suggested building truck-climbing lanes on the hilly stretch of I-81 between
and the location of
an inland port between
and Wytheville to reduce west-to-east truck traffic.
A local attorney, Jeff Krasnow, said the state should increase the state’s per gallon tax on diesel because tractor-trailers
are causing much of the congestion and the need for more roads: “The folks who
are making us spend the money should be responsible for paying more,” he was
quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
A 2-cent sales tax increase with 1.5 cents dedicated to transportation
and a gasoline tax boost also were mentioned.
Kaine reiterated a campaign pledge that he would veto any budget bills
that call for money to be diverted from the state’s transportation trust fund
for other uses, and restore funds still being used for other purposes.
Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president, said he’s encouraged by
the commitment Kaine has shown for assuring highway funds aren’t diverted.
“We’re encouraged with the governor-elect’s response on the subject of
taxes and highway diversions because the main reason Virginia and most other states
go begging on their highways is because of diversions of highway money that
take place both at the state and federal level,” Spencer said. “If you don’t
dedicate highway funds to highways, your highway system will always be full of
meeting was the first of up to 15 town hall forums around the state.
A meeting held Monday, Nov. 21, in
focused on traffic problems created by a limited number of bridges and tunnels
and cities south of the
Hampton Roads harbor, the Times-Dispatch reported.
The most popular solution was to expand the Hampton Roads
Bridge-Tunnel, which carries Interstate 64 across the harbor, rather than
adding a third crossing over the harbor, in addition to the Hampton Roads and Monitor-Merrimac
Several of those in attendance said they would support a fuel tax
increase to pay for road and bridge work.
The governor said the meetings would make up “the first round” of a
series of public forums on transportation leading up to his Jan. 14
Kaine promised during his campaign that he would listen to input about
transportation needs from citizens, transportation experts and elected
officials across the state.
He would use the input received to come up with a transportation plan
for the General Assembly session that starts in January.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative