REGIONAL VIEW eastern virginia

Beach voters are not on board with light rail by Joan Tupponce

Virginia Beach Mayor

Will Sessoms believes the cost of the $243 million extension — of which the city would be responsible for $88 million — scared people. The first estimates were as high as $326 million. “That’s what the opposition took and ran with, and they did a good job,” he says.

The Tide runs more than 7 miles through Norfolk.


irginia Beach won’t be served by a light- rail transit system

anytime soon. A referendum to extend The Tide, Norfolk’s rail system, 3.2 miles to Town Center in Virginia Beach was voted down in November. Although the referendum was not binding, Virginia Beach City Council promised to fol- low the voters’ will. The proposal was

opposed by No Light Rail in Virginia Beach, a group formed by Virginia Beach Treasurer John T. Atkinson. “Norfolk spent $56 mil-


With about 300 ADP employees moving into a downtown Norfolk building, Carlos Rodriguez, the payroll and human resources company’s CEO, made his first visit to the city in early December for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. ADP, a New Jersey-based company formerly known as Automatic Data Processing Inc., has begun moving into 2 Commercial Place, its new home for a customer service center that eventually will have 1,800 employees. (The Virginian-Pilot)

A study released in November by the College of William & Mary Law School’s Virginia Coastal Policy Center warns that sea-level rise could eventually cost the Hampton Roads region more

lion for their portion of the light rail in 2011, and now they have a $9 million a year deficit. For a population of about 250,000 that works out to $38 for every man, woman and child in Norfolk to keep the light rail running. And, ridership in Norfolk is down,” Atkinson says. “Light rail doesn’t offer a valued service to citizens in Virginia Beach.” Adding light rail in Vir- ginia Beach will not elimi- nate traffic congestion, but “it will give us a bigger tax bill,” Atkinson says, noting that

than $100 million extra in damage and costs annually if no measures are taken to mitigate the risks of coastal flooding. The study, conducted by the North Carolina- based Research Triangle Institute, found that rising seas will pose ever-increasing threats to Hampton Roads’ roughly $100 billion worth of buildings, not including military installations and ports. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Smithfield-based Smithfield Foods said in November it is buying Clougherty Packing from Hormel Foods Corp. for $145 million in cash. Clougherty Packing is the parent company of Farmer John and Saag’s Specialty Meats. The sale also includes PFFJ farm operations in California, Arizona and Wyo- ming. Minnesota-based Hormel

12 JANUARY 2017 City Council

passed a budget in 2015 that included a tax for light rail. “We have a special tax on the real estate tax bill amount- ing to $45 per $250,000 of assessed value for light rail even though we have never driven the first nail in the ground.”

This isn’t the first time

light rail was put to a vote in Virginia Beach. Plans to build a rail transit were voted down in a 1999 referendum. A 2012 referendum to study the idea was approved.

acquired Clougherty Packing in 2004. Smithfield Foods is the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. (VirginiaBusi-

The Navy aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, is in the final stages of construction after cost overruns and a delay of more than a year. This carrier and those that will follow will replace the Nimitz-class carriers, which were first commissioned in 1975. Construction on the Ford, which currently is sitting at Newport News Shipbuilding, started in 2009. (The Associated Press)

Plenty of job seekers eager to work at the new Waterside District attended an open house hiring event at Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel on Nov.

He saw the rail

extension as a “vision for connectivity.” “In Virginia

Beach, we have stra-

tegic growth areas that are planned, and it would be more successful with light rail,” Sessoms says. “A mul- timodal system is needed for us to be successful 20 years from now.” The city may now look

at other rapid transit options such as express buses. “We still have a lot of options,” Sessoms says. “I am opti- mistic we will come up with a solution. The question is: When and also how we will pay for it?”

15. The mixed-use venue will feature music, live entertainment, events and festivals along with a range of regional and national culinary options. It is a $40 million overhaul and rebranding of the Waterside Festival Marketplace. The district is anticipated to fill 1,000 jobs before its April open- ing. (Inside Business)


Susan P. Davis, a certified public accountant, has joined S. L. Nus- baum Realty Co.’s Norfolk office as controller. Before

joining the company, Davis worked in public accounting with a concen- tration on real estate. (VirginiaBusi-

Chesapeake Regional Health- care has named Reese Jackson its president and CEO. Jackson was the president and

CEO of Forbes Hospital in Mon- roeville, Pa. (VirginiaBusiness. com)

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell will join Regent University in January as a distinguished professor in government. McDonnell, who received his law degree from Regent, will teach in the Robertson School of Government and will help establish a Governor’s Center for Federalism and Civility. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Photo courtesy Virginia Department of Transportation

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