The Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), Hampton Roads' Federally-mandated transportation board, met on Thursday.
A representative from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) briefed the TPO on the ongoing study to expand the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT). Even under the "aggressive" schedule, the final Environmental Impact Study (EIS) won't be completed until Spring, 2014.
The HRBT issue triggered a discussion about tolls and the economic impact of imposing tolls. Tolls should be on the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels within a year, in the prelude to the PPTA that includes a second tube at the Midtown. What would be the impact on already-troubled Portsmouth? How will tolls change traffic patterns, as some motorists go by different routes to avoid the tolls?
The TPO passed both its FY 2012 Budget and the FY 2012-15 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).
There was a briefing by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) on passenger rail. The good news is that the process is already underway for replacing CSX's Appomattox River Bridge, which would allow three daily Amtrak trains to Norfolk sooner.