The reality of the tolls being used to fund transportation projects in Hampton Roads is starting to hit home: A two-part series in The Virginian Pilot (1, 2), protests in Portsmouth, letters to the editor (one of the best of which was in today’s paper and is not yet available online).
Hampton Roads, particularly the Southside, is in real danger of being cut off from the rest of the state. And the localities from each other.
I’m old enough to remember the tolls on the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. If memory serves, they were $1.25 per car plus $.20 per occupant. In our 1966 Chevrolet station wagon, there was a space between the second and third (rear-facing) seat which was my spot in the car. I recall lying down in the space to try to avoid being counted. I guess saving 20 cents was a big deal – when we had a total of 10 people in the car.
But we didn’t cross that tunnel often. Even after the tolls came off, it took years for people on the Peninsula to regularly make the trek to the Southside.
But that has changed. As I outlined in an earlier article, the Hampton Roads localities are now quite interdependent. So that makes the coming tolls even more onerous.
It’s going to be ugly. And it’s going to suck a lot of resources out the Hampton Roads economy.
UPDATE: Here’s the LTE I mentioned above.