The Chamber’s monthly Regional Board of Directors meeting held on April 27 featured guest speaker Sean Connaughton, Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Secretary Connaughton announced that during the 2011 General Assembly session, 47 of the 54 pieces of legislation that his department put forward were approved. Of that 47, many will directly impact the Hampton Roads area. “We understand the problems and we’re moving forward,” he said.
Secretary Connaughton explained that Hampton Roads has been allocated a $1.5 billion budget for transportation this year. “This is more than the region has seen in over a decade,” he said. “This is very good news for Hampton Roads.” Connaughton announced that improvements will begin being made this summer. Some of the key areas that will be getting attention in the next few years will be the Midtown Tunnel, U.S. Route 460, and the Dominion Boulevard expansion. He encouraged the business community to voice their support of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program to help keep the Midtown and Downtown tunnel tolls under $2.00.
Secretary Connaughton oversees seven state agencies with more than 9,700 employees and combined annual budgets of $4 billion.