Current Weather Conditions

 
Seven Day Forecast for Emporia, Virginia
 

Community Calendar Sponsored By...

 

2017-1-10

Transportation Secretary Defends Tolls on I-66

By Ryan Persaud and Yasmine Jumaa, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A month after the fury over what many drivers considered excessive tolls on Interstate 66, Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne defended the tolls, saying they are necessary for increasing the flow of traffic on the highway in Northern Virginia.

The tolls, which vary based on demand and amount of traffic, have reached as high as $44 for a 10-mile drive since they were implemented on Dec. 4.

“I would’ve anticipated that happening a lot lower than the $44, but it did not,” Layne said. “People chose to pay it, but it was a choice. Our other option is we could just limit the road when it reaches a certain level [to] HOV users. The issue with that is that we’re taking away that choice for the people who want to pay it.”

Layne spoke Tuesday to the General Assembly’s Joint Commission on Transportation Accountability. His report came a month after Del. Tim Hugo of Fairfax, who chairs the House Republican Caucus, called the I-66 tolls “exorbitant” and “unacceptable.”

The tolling is in effect weekdays only, during rush hours and in the peak direction, on about 10 miles of I-66, from Route 29 in Rosslyn to Interstate 495.

Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, said the high tolls are a result of a lack of state funding for road projects.

“This is all symptomatic of not having enough money to begin with to build the highways,” Wagner said. “We’re having to do these unique types of programs to build these highways.”

Del.-elect Danica Roem, a Democrat from Manassas, told Layne about constituents hit hard by the tolls. They included a combat veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who must drive by himself as a part of his treatment. The constituent said that avoiding the tolls added 45 minutes to his commute.

Layne insisted that commuters can take alternate routes such as Route 50 and the George Washington Memorial Parkway. But another constituent Roem spoke to said he commutes from Manassas Park to Georgetown and cannot take any alternate pathways. The driver stated that he does not know how to budget his money due to the varying tolls.

“That’s the beast of the dynamic tolling process: You don’t know what it’s going to be each day until the time you get there because it’s basically volume control,” Roem said. “He [the constituent from Manassas Park] had a number of concerns with this.”

Layne said the revenue from the tolls goes toward funding other transportation projects.

“They will help pay for the road construction; they will help pay for multi-modal transportation and operation of the road,” Layne said.

After monitoring the corridors surrounding I-66 and alternative routes, Layne said that so far the data indicated no significant change in travel time on those routes.

“We need to continue to monitor this, and it may require that we do adjustments, but as of right now we do not see any significant impact to these parallel corridors,” Layne said.

Last month, Hugo released a statement criticizing Layne and Gov. Terry McAuliffe on the toll rates.

“Governor McAuliffe has gone on TV several times this week saying $40 toll prices are the way ‘it’s supposed to work.’ I could not disagree more,” Hugo said. “The hard-working people of Northern Virginia should not be forced to get a part-time job to be able to afford to drive to their full-time job.”

These are Layne’s final days as the commonwealth’s secretary of transportation. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam has appointed former Lynchburg lawmaker Shannon Valentine to the position.

Josh Baird is a great example of a person with a good work ethic.

Josh Baird is a great example of a person with a good work ethic.  He graduated from Brunswick High School on a Saturday and began working as a contractor at the Dominion Power Plant on Monday.

Thanks to training Baird received in high school through Dual Enrollment Classes at Southside Virginia Community College, he was able to obtain this great job at the new facility located in Brunswick County.

“I received certificates in Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and High Performance Technology (HPT) from SVCC (while still in high school)”, Baird said.  This is the reason I was able to secure such a great job, he added.

One of his instructors in the program, Vincent Brown, SVCC Assistant Professor of Technology, said, “ Josh was a great student. He was eager to learn and excelled in both the HPT and AMT programs.  When Dominion Power was looking for an intern, I thought of Josh first.   Since Josh has been at Dominion Power, he has excelled there and continued to be successful.   I'm excited that this innovative SVCC program prepared him for a good job, AND a career.

After finishing the Certificate programs, Baird continued to study at SVCC while working and received an Associate’s Degree in Industrial Maintenance Technician in May of 2015.

Currently a Vibration Technician, Baird works for TEC Industrial headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee but his work location is at the local power station of Dominion.  In his job, he collects vibration data on rotating equipment and performs basic vibration analysis to assist with determination of problems and potential repair plans.  His career goal is to become a Maintenance Operator at the Brunswick plant.

“I would like to share with potential students that they should consider going in the HPT Program during high school.  It is truly a great learning experience,” said Baird.

Baird is from White Plains, Virginia. 

The SVCC HPT and AMT programs are offered through Dual Enrollment at several high schools in the college's service region.  The programs are also available as a Career Studies Certificate programs to the general public.   The HPT consists of 19 credit hours and the AMT is completed in 24 credit hours.  For more information, contact Dr. Chad Patton at 434 949 1038 or email chad.patton@southside.edu

Livestock Clinic Coming to Town

Courtland, VA – Even though there aren’t as many hog pens scattered across the countryside as there were 50 years ago, knowledge of rearing livestock is still a very important and essential skill and part of food and fiber production.  It is also provides a avenue to impart some very important life skills to young people.  Caring for livestock enforces elements of responsibility that are needed more than ever in today’s society.

Along these lines, the Southampton County 4-H Livestock Club is sponsoring a livestock clinic on Saturday January 28th near Franklin.  Veterinarians will offer sessions on how to evaluate feed, how to interpret the health certificate for cattle, as well as a host of other current topics related to the care of livestock.  Youth ages 5-19 with interest in livestock and their parents are encouraged to contact the Southampton Extension Office at 757-653-2572 or email southamptonextension@vt.edu to sign up.

Subscribe to RSS - 2017-1-10

Emporia News

Stories on Emporianews.com are be searchable, using the box above. All new stories will be tagged with the date (format YYYY-M-D or 2013-1-1) and the names of persons, places, institutions, etc. mentioned in the article. This database feature will make it easier for those people wishing to find and re-read an article.  For anyone wishing to view previous day's pages, you may click on the "Previous Day's Pages" link in the menu at the top of the page, or search by date (YYYY-M-D format) using the box above.

Comment Policy:  When an article or poll is open for comments feel free to leave one.  Please remember to be respectful when you comment (no foul or hateful language, no racial slurs, etc) and keep our comments safe for work and children. .Comments are moderated and comments that contain explicit or hateful words will be deleted.  IP addresses are tracked for comments. 

EmporiaNews.com serves Emporia and Greensville County, Virginia and the surrounding area
and is provided as a community service by the Advertisers and Sponsors.
All material on EmporiaNews.com is copyright 2005-2016
EmporiaNews.com is powered by Drupal and based on the ThemeBrain Sirate Theme.

Submit Your Story!

Emporia News welcomes your submissions!  You may submit articles, announcements, school or sports information using the submission forms found here, or via e-mail on news@emporianews.com.  Currently, photos and advertisements will still be accepted only via e-mail, but if you have photos to go along with your submission, you will receive instructions via e-mail. If you have events to be listed on the Community Calendar, submit them here.

Contact us at news@emporianews.com
 
EmporiaNews.com is hosted as a community Service by Telpage.  Visit their website at www.telpage.net or call (434)634-5100 (NOTICE: Telpage cannot help you with questions about Emporia New nor does Teplage have any input the content of Emporia News.  Please use the e-mail address above if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the content on Emporia News.)