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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 Exec resigns

Link to article here.

Question now is, his replacement will be named AFTER the Legislature leaves. So will the new Director keep the status quo, or lead the agency to restore the public trust?

TxDOT chief executive Amadeo Saenz to resign

2:57 PM Wed, Jan 26, 2011 | Dallas Morning News
Michael Lindenberger/Reporter    This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Texas Department of Transportation executive director Amadeo Saenz resigned today, just weeks after a hand-picked panel of advisors urged his bosses to make leadership changes at the highest levels.

He will remain in his spot, however, until Aug. 31.

Saenz, who has been chief executive of the 12,000-employee agency since 2007, is the first hispanic to lead the department, which is famous for its tradition of hiring from within. Saenz joined the department 33 years ago in Pharr District.

"Throughout the course of his career, Amadeo has earned a reputation as a leader and coalition builder, and earned the respect and trust of his peers across the country, our partners here in Texas, and most importantly, his employees.

"Amadeo has served his state with honor and integrity. TxDOT is a better agency today thanks to his leadership," said Deirdre Delisi, the chairwoman of the Texas Transportation Commission, the five-member panel that oversees the agency.