Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim addressed a monthly session of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce on October 8 seeking the organization’s support of the Patriot’s Crossing project.
This project, billed as a key transportation solution for the region, would become the third crossing of the Hampton Roads harbor. Once constructed, the Patriot’s Crossing will reduce congestion, easing the burden on the aging Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and encouraging traffic on the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel.
As a voting member of the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC) formed earlier this year, Mayor Fraim called Patriot’s Crossing “the single most important transportation project” adding that he hoped as business leaders, members of the committee understood the importance of the project that has been weighed down by decision makers.
Beyond congestion, Mayor Fraim underscored to the members that the project will foster economic growth opportunities for Hampton Roads, supports the military and links the Port of Virginia facilities to major freight corridors.
The project has an estimated $3B price tag and will connect I-564 to the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel with a four-lane highway. Patriot’s Crossing would also include a connector to Craney Island.
“Transportation is one of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce’s public policy priorities and the development of a third crossing is a long overdue necessity for our region’s business community and the quality of life of our residence,” said Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bryan K. Stephens in a brief question-and-answer period following the presentation.
“I talk to members every day who share with me their concerns about securing better transportation options for Hampton Roads,” said Stephens. “The future of their businesses count on it. There’s no doubt in my mind that Patriot’s Crossing will significantly help facilitate regional economic growth and improve the quality of life for all citizens.”
Recommitting the business community’s interest in seeing Patriot’s Crossing a reality is key for the region, according to Ira Agricola, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President for Governmental Affairs.
“The Chamber support Patriot’s Crossing for a number of strategic business reasons including future Port development and growth,” said Agricola. “Patriot’s Crossing means improved connections throughout our region and is the most cost effective and efficient crossing option considered by the HRTAC.”
Members of the Executive Committee in attendance at the monthly meeting voted unanimously to reiterate the Chamber’s support of the Patriot’s Crossing project, agreeing to submit a formal endorsement letter to Governor McAuliffe and to HRTAC.
Update: Hampton Roads President and CEO, Bryan K. Stephens, addressed the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission as an invited speaker on October 16. Offering remarks underscoring the Chamber’s support of the project, Mr. Stephens submitted on behalf of the members, a formal endorsement letter.