The same day, Governor Bob McDonnell chimed in by sending out a press release, touting how his transportation funding package would help the pothole disaster.
At the very bottom was this line: "Longer term measures include a major rebuild of I-64 in the southside area and the entire stretch of I-264."
A rebuilt interstate? It was news to NewsChannel 3 as well as local lawmakers instrumental in helping McDonnell pass his funding bill, like Suffolk Delegate Chris Jones.
“Did you ever hear anything about this before Friday? I had not heard about a major rebuild for that entire stretch of highway,” said Jones.
With the Governor in town for the Lipton economic expansion announcement, we got to ask him about the big plan, in person. Where did the plan come from, when can we see it actually come to fruition, and what money will be used?
“Well, most of the priorities we set at the state level come from local governments,” said McDonnell.
He is right. Cities like Norfolk and Virginia beach have representatives that sit on the board of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning organization.
They actually make a wish list of transportation projects going out 20 years in the future, but a rebuild of I-264 and I-64 is not on that list.
The project is not even listed on the Governor’s website of projects to be funded by public private partnerships.
So what did the governor mean when he said the rebuild of I-264 and I-64 was a long term plan? When can drivers finally expect to see a nice road?
“First, the bill has to be signed into law and new revenues have to come in. Secondly, it’s got to be properly appropriated by the CTB; they have a six-year plan,” said McDonnell. “I’d like to see everything done as soon as possible. I’ve lived down here for 21 years, drove that road, and it always has too much traffic and too many potholes…but that’s a question for the CTB.”
So we went to local Commonwealth Transportation Board member Aubrey Layne.
“Everyone knows this project has to be reconstructed, and fortunately in the Governor’s legislative package he led, the money is there to do that,” said Layne.
Still, Layne acknowledges that the project has not been formally presented, budgeted, or approved.
If I-264 and I-64 do make it into the CTB’s six-year budget plan, Layne says any major rebuild would not even get off the ground for at least another 3-4 years, but local lawmakers hope something big is done.
“If you look at I-264, no question it is crumbling around us. I have never seen so many busted tires and broken rims. Something has got to be done,” said Del. Jones.