New Va. highway faces criticism

WASHINGTON – Virginia is moving ahead with a major new highway project – but it’s not in gridlocked Northern Virginia nor another one of the state’s heavily traveled corridors.

Virginia will spend $1.4 billion to build a 55 mile long highway between Petersburg and Suffolk. It will run parallel to U.S. Highway 460.

State officials estimate only about 5,000 to 6,000 cars will initially travel the new toll road, and that’s triggered complaints from some Virginia members of Congress who say the project doesn’t measure up to the monetary investment.

The new highway also comes at a time when Virginia officials are concerned about running out of transportation money by 2017.

The Washington Post reports the road has been a pet project of Virginia’s Gov. Bob McDonnel for years, dating back to his days as a state delegate.

Supporters say it’s an economic development that could pay off with additional business coming into the Port of Virginia and will be an alternate to Interstate 64.

WTOP’s Mark Lewis contributed to this report.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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