CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- Bill Grogan, the independent candidate for Virginia's 68th district, says he wants to eliminate the tolls on the Powhite Parkway.
His plan, if elected, is to convince the Virginia General Assembly to turn the Powhite Parkway into an extension of interstate 195 all the way to where it meets Rt. 288. That would essentially make it a federally funded road.
Using the tolls at the Powhite Parkway near the Midlothian Turnpike as a backdrop, Grogan said Chesterfield residents pay the most in tolls with the least representation. The Richmond Metropolitan Authority runs parking decks, baseball stadiums, train stations, and nearly every toll booth in the metro area.
When it was set up in 1966, the city had the biggest financial investment. As such, it has six members on the RMA board. Chesterfield and Henrico only have two each. There is also one state appointed member.
Because the RMA is not equal and organized, central Virginians missed out on hundreds of millions of dollars through the regional transportation package approved by the General Assembly; money that the Hampton Roads area and NOVA receives.
"I believe the leaders in Richmond are astute enough to see once they have taken back their assets that there is equal representation" said Grogan. "I think they're wise enough to say, and working on it now, that we work better regionally."
This is what Grogan says he plans to do if elected:
- Eliminate the tolls on the Powhite Parkway.
- Equalize the RMA board.
- Amend the transportation funding bill to include RMA funding.
Not all of this is something new proposed by Grogan. His opponent, incumbent Republican Delegate Manoli Loupassi introduced legislation last session that would equalize the RMA board, but it didn't make it out of committee.
Loupassi says he's been working on equalizing the RMA board for the past five years and even talked with Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones about it just three weeks ago. He believes all sides are starting to realize in order to address transportation issues the region's players have to work together.
Loupassi says he has another proposal drafted for the upcoming General Assembly session.