Skip to comments.Bob McDonnell’s “Road for Nobody” near Hampton Roads insults Northern Virginia
Posted on 01/31/2013 1:04:18 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
A few years ago, Alaskas proposed Bridge to Nowhere became a national symbol of wasteful government spending on little-needed projects.
Now Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has pushed through his own version of this embarrassment, a $1.4 billion highway outside Hampton Roads that qualifies as a Road for Nobody.
McDonnell has perplexed people across the state by his insistence on adding a tolled, four-lane highway parallel to U.S. 460. It will stretch for 55 miles from Petersburg, a Richmond suburb, southeast to Suffolk.
The deal signed in December to build the road is especially insulting to traffic-jammed Northern Virginia, where the need for precious transportation dollars is dramatically greater. Tolls on the new road are expected to cover less than a fifth of the cost.
Numbers tell the story. McDonnell will have Virginia build an entirely new highway to share the traffic on U.S. 460, which carries an average of 9,200 to 17,000 vehicles a day.
By contrast, Fairfax County doesnt have funds to expand, say, Braddock Road which, near the Beltway, carries 70,000 vehicles a day.
Local authorities also would like to add two lanes to the Fairfax County Parkway, where volume near the Dulles Toll Road is 63,000 vehicles a day.
McDonnells top roads guy, Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton, argues that volume will rise on the new U.S. 460 as the Hampton Roads port expands in coming decades.
For once, were planning ahead, he said.
But according to the states own projections, the total, combined volume on the new and old U.S. 460 will be just 23,000 vehicles a day by 2035.
Thats still less than half the volume on the above-mentioned roads in Northern Virginia. Plus, our region is sure to expand as well, and probably faster than Hampton Roads.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Highways create their own traffic because they attract commercial and residential development along their corridor.
As I wrote here many years ago, and got flamed for, the so-called “bridge to nowhere” was propagandistic BS. One of the two bridges was going to link Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, with its largest growing population in the Mat-Su Valley with a span across Knik Arm. The so-called “bridge to nowhere” would have cut the time for a trip from the valley to Anchorage from 90 minutes to 30 minutes. In addition to that, it would have cut an hour off the driving time from Fairbanks (the state’s second largest city) to Anchorage.
It’s roughly analogous to calling the Golden Gate Bridge a “bridge to nowhere” since it would have connected a major city to a bunch of dairy farms and wooded hills.
The OTHER “bridge to nowhere” would have connected Ketchikan, a city built literally on the side of a mountain, to the only area of easily-available flat land a few hundred yards away across the Tongass Narrows.
The only logical argument concerned the cost of the projects. The need for the projects, though, is undeniable.
I don’t know any information about this highway other than what is in this article. Given my past experience, though, I’m highly skeptical of anything I read with the expression “bridges to nowhere” in it.
The Knik Arm bridge is going to be built soon anyway, too.
Washington comPost has a solution.. elect the democrat in the upcoming election..
Awww. Sounds like NORVA residents need more Metro stations , buses, and bike lanes.
Toll roads are one of the neatest propaganda tricks that government ever created. Often, toll roads are sold to an uninformed electorate as an item that will pay for itself over time.
What government DOESN’T want people to know about them is that they never get paid off and remain an additional bureaucracy. Despite the cliams to the contrary, tax dollars are initially used to fund the construction of the toll road and, once it is built, the money the road generates is supposed to be repaid to the taxpayers.
It usually isn’t because the bureaucracy in charge of the toll roads finds ways to spend the revenue on themselves. But, the worst trick about toll roads is that drivers who use the road get to pay extra to sit in the eventual traffic jam versus the drivers on the non-toll roads.
To be fair, this project is a waste. It simply parrallels a free road that already has 55 mph speed limits. The toll road might cut 10 minutes off the trip if that. The money would have been much better spent elsewhere. The article makes it sound like a Hampton Roads project, but we are furious as well and McD was has been so insistent on it against the people’s will, he’s got to be getting kickbacks. It isn’t always republicans=good, democrats=bad.
Google the magic busway in Connecticut. About $600 million worth of busses only highway connecting Hartford to New Britain Connecticut. This is a distance of about eleven miles. It’s for commuters and ridership will never cover costs. Our governor thinks it will and him the Secretary of Transportation gig once the Kenyan getscaround tonit.
But if the Marylanders living in NoVa want to build toll roads in Arlington and Fairfax Counties, have at it. You've already ruined everything else. And once it gets as bad as Montgomery and Prince George Counties, then MOVE THE HELL BACK TO MARYLAND!
This is supposed to be a toll road. I doubt that traffic will ramp up as expected for many moons. Just look at the ICC in Maryland - they were originally hoping for a weekday count of 50K to 70K users, but instead get 30K on the western part and 20K on the eastern part, and claim that it is about what they expected (memory holes, anyone?).
There are exceptions. The Dallas-Fort Worth tollway (now I-30) eventually became free once the bonds were paid off, after a fight over extending the tolls, if I remember correctly. Kentucky’s system of parkways (parts of which are now I-69) were once tolled, but are now free. The last ones became free just a few years ago.
That would avoid needing to four lane the SpfldBps ~ or Fairfax Parkway as it's known today.
BTW, that would cut the trip down to about 15 minutes from it's current 42 minute drag.
Probably boost my home price 50%
One other bennie would be no more need to improve Braddock Road. If it was good enough for George Washington, it's good enough.
If McDonnell’s so concerned about the road, why can’t he just widen the existing road to 4 lanes, divided? The traffic counts don’t really seem to justify a toll road, since it wouldn’t pay for itself.
So, no, they aren't a trick ~ they're just the price you pay to get the road you want.
I-95 at Richmond, Va was built as a toll road.
Removing the tolls was a big mistake.
Local people bought a book of tickets and paid a dime to ride it. Yankees passing through paid almost a buck LOL!
The existing road is already 4 lanes (albiet not divided). There are 3 towns along the way with about 1 stop light each. What is being sold is that with the road, trucks and tourists will go 20 miles out (and then 20 miles back) of the way and pay a toll to get to Virginia Beach and it will ease traffic on I64.
Hmmmm .... yes.
That explains why I-95 through Richmond is still a toll road. And I-264 from Norfolk to Virginia Beach is still a toll road. And why the Elizabeth River Tunnels in Norfolk are still toll facilities.
Nope. Tolls never get lifted.
But, the worst trick about toll roads is that drivers who use the road get to pay extra to sit in the eventual traffic jam versus the drivers on the non-toll roads.
Yep. The Dulles Greenway and Dulles Toll Road are far and away the abolute most crowded, parking-lot at rush hour roads in all of northern Virginia. They're FAR worse than I-66 and I495.
MOVE THE HELL BACK TO MARYLAND!
That’s the best answer to NOVA’s roads problem... and any other problem they have too.
They’re a cancer killing the whole state.
Don't know all that much about this project but typically these older US routes in the Eastern states don't connect up with the endpoints the way you'd like them to. So, when you decide to improve them to provide better access you usually end up spending a lot more than you need to and can actually build an entirely new road for the same amount.
I've driven that road numerous times BTW, and it's pretty empty ~ except at the end points. As I recall it runs through the public housing slumway up at Petersburg, and equally interesting areas down toward Portsmouth. I do know that we had massive opposition to building Fairfax Parkway ~ and now it's the third busiest road in Northern Virginia.
However, if all the Midwesterners who make up the majority in Northern Virginia moved away the rest of the state would turn into the world's 5th largest outdoor slum since nobody would be paying taxes for anything.
Now you wouldn't want that would you?
Soon as McDonnell is out of office the secret underground on the Beltway is going to begin blowing the accesses so we get our HOV lanes back!
I bet you think your gibberish deserves a reply.
Series. It's systemic error is HUGH!
I know whereof I speak, here, as I regularly endure the hellish, crawling, bumper to bumper traffic on the Greenway.
and Petersburg is NOT southeast of Suffolk. They can’t even get basic geography straight. How on earth can even claim to be a credible news source.
Virginia Ping! If you want on or off the Virginia Ping List, please freepmail me.
What are you talking about. Most of the residence of Northern Virgina are either fed servants, gov contractors, or lobbyist. Removing them would only help!
Fairfax has about 180,000 lawyers though ~ but there's a large federal court establishment in the DC area including a number of specialty courts.
The largest single identifiable industry group around here is a nebulous structure of NON PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, and most of their employees are involved in printing and mailing.
There are, of course, lobbyists ~ but they are not as massive a body as you might imagine.
Many people imagine that DC is a concentration of federal employment, but it's really not ~ sure we have the headquarters elements of the major bureaucracies around here but CONGRESS makes sure the overwhelming majority of federal jobs get distributed to districts all over the country.
You remember it correctly. But the fight was extensive and the state had to threaten the DFW toll authority with a suit before they finally abandoned the tollway. I was living in the area at the time.
However, the DFW tollway is the exception, not the rule. For the rule, look at the Dallas North tollway which has been around since Jesus was in elementary school and has little likelihood of EVER going bye-bye.
You all remember when Obama said the business people didn't build the roads they use, right? He was totally wrong ~ might be the case that the federal government built the roads in Hawaii, but private interests built virtually all the early roads in the Midwest ~ the government had nothing to do with it.
A concept called 'demurrage' is commonly understood as an extra fee for detaining a box car on a rail siding ~ but it's more easily understood as a toll for directing a box car from it's normal regulated freight track to a privately owned siding. Just in case someone is going to tell me the railroads don't charge tolls ~ but, of course they do.
Toll roads ~ steel, corduroy, brick and gravel BUILT AMERICA, and for the most part, most of the toll roads were paid for.
The existing road is 4 lanes, but it is not divided. Makes no difference in the argument, just making the correction. Other than the 3 towns it goes through (Ivor, Wakefield, and Waverly), which are 1-2 stop light twons, it is 55 MPH throughout the 55 mile stretch and there are no current traffic congestion issues. The road isn’t needed. I drive the section from Ivor to Petersburg often as I live in Newport News and have family near Petersburg. It will be a cold day in hell before I take the toll road.
There’s gotta’ be a reason why it is so lightly used ~ the alternative is just nasty all the time. So, what is it ~ the way it hooks up perhaps? Or, is there a chance of getting shot.(NOTE: i did a Google Earth look at the roadway ~ there’s plenty of it DIVIDED ~ not the whole thing, but take a good look sometime ~ there have been improvements.
It is lightly used because:
1. It is 20 miles in each direction out of the way from Virginia Beach.
2. It really isn’t much better than the alternative. The alternative involves the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. With 460 you can pick your poison with the Downtown Tunnel and the High Rise Bridge, both equally as time consuming as the HRBT.
3. Adding a toll road isn’t going to make it any more palatable.
4. The true pusher of this road is the Port of Virginia. It is not really designed to relieve congestion, it is designed for developers like everything else. If they really wanted to relieve congetion, they would sink a tunnel and provide rail/highway service betweeen Downtown Newport News and the Norfolk Naval Base with a spur into Portsmouth, but since all those areas are already developed, the business lobby isn’t interested.
One of the worst mistakes ever made was turning down the offer made by the trucking industry to purchase Shirley highway. We really needed a roadway to separate the trucks from the cars ~ and now we have a mixed use roadway that moves as fast as the heaviest most underpowered truck at rush hour.