Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe made good on that promise Friday, appointing Aubrey Layne as Virginia's next Secretary of Transportation.
Layne serves as the Hampton Roads representative to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, as well CEO of "An Achievable Dream" foundation.
“I am from Hampton Roads, and I am very keen to bring to the State Capitol the perspective of those that cross rivers and bays, connecting citizens to jobs, shopping and entertainment,” said Layne.
“To have someone from Virginia Beach! It’s off the charts how happy I am about this,” said Mayor Will Sessoms, just one of the many local leaders on hand for the announcement.
He, along with other area mayors, were excited to hear Layne and McAuliffe's promises to make Hampton Roads projects a top priority.
Especially in bringing the Tide to Virginia Beach.
“This isn’t a matter of ‘if’ light rail is coming, it’s a matter of when. Aubrey and the Governor-Elect are strong supporters of it happening,” said Sessoms.
When it comes to tolls at the Downtown and Midtown tunnels--$1.84 each way is just too much for McAuliffe and Layne.
“I don’t believe that without tolls of some type, it would be a reality, but the key is, figuring out what is the appropriate level that impacts the driving public,” said Layne.
So what could Hampton Roads look like after four years of a McAuliffe/Layne administration?
Mayors like Sessoms are dreaming big.
“I-64 widening, a third crossing, light rail…we will have a system that moves people and moves them well,” said Sessoms. “It’s a system we have been desperately needing for years and years, and now we are on track to make it happen.”