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Virginians protest tolls & PPP on Hampton Roads Print E-mail
Written by Terri Hall   
Sunday, 19 February 2012,0,4506916.column

More than 3,500 sign anti-toll petition

Street Smart

By Jon Cawley

9:25 PM EST, February 11, 2012


Do you hate the idea of paying a toll to travel between Norfolk and Portsmouth in the Midtown or Downtown tunnels?

Perhaps what really gets you steamed is the likelihood that even more tolls will pop up around Hampton Roads as part of a growing trend toward mega-project public/private partnerships.

A Suffolk resident has started an online petition to express that very dismay. And as of Friday evening, more than 3,500 people have signed Todd Cairns' petition on The petition is "Tell Virginia State and Local Officials: Block Tolls in Hampton Roads."

In part, the petition reads: "In an attempt to make up for a road-funding model that becomes increasingly insufficient with each passing day, Hampton Roads is on the precipice of heavy tolls and public-private partnerships. While there is much concern from our citizens and representatives, the response is divided. This petition has been created to unify our concerns and hopefully to reverse course on public-private partnerships and tolls.

"The most worrisome aspect is what tolls will do to the local economy and citizens. In Hampton Roads, it will heavily affect small businesses, students at ODU, NSU, TCC, the military who depend on our roadways," the petition states.

A second online petition at the same website has garnered 89 supporters.

The petitions are an example of the growing public discord in Hampton Roads regarding Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to finance state transportation needs — such as a new Midtown Tunnel tube and upgrades to the Downtown Tunnel and Martin Luther King Expressway — in large part through public/private partnerships and tolling.

The governor's plan to start a statewide tolling authority suffered a setback last week when it was stripped from General Assembly legislation before the Senate finance committee.

DMV grants

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office is accepting transportation safety grant applications from programs statewide that "strive to reduce traffic deaths and injuries."

The deadline for filing a submission is March 15.

The cost-reimbursement funding phase, for selected programs, will run Oct. 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2013, according to a DMV statement.

Instructions say applicants should contact their regional manager to get access to an online application that must be filled out at The Portsmouth regional manager is Dwight Jenkins. He can be reached at 804-699-0364 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated ( Sunday, 19 February 2012 )
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TxDOT releases 100 Most Congested Roads List 2010
TxDOT released its 100 Most Congested Roads in Texas list for 2010. Here's the link to the list. To find out what TxDOT plans to do to fix the congestion, click on the "Mitigation Plan" icon.

Note that virtually all the "fixes" are tolled. Yet TxDOT and the Federal Highway Administration keep trying to reassure Texans that all options are being studied and evaluated for each of these projects. Yeah right! When the plan is to toll, exactly how are non-toll options being explored? Pre-determining the outcome of the environmental studies (which determine whether or not a project gets federal clearance) violates the National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA. Then, TxDOT and toll authorities scratch their heads and wonder why they're taken to court to stop toll projects...