Hodges addresses transportation, other issues at town hall meeting

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Feb 20, 2013 - 01:34 PM

Photo: Among the dozen or so people who attended a town hall meeting held by Del. Keith Hodges (R-Middlesex), standing, last week were, from left, James C. Diggs, James Peters, Robert L. Marble, Ben C. Garrett and Shannon C. Fedors. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Among the dozen or so people who attended a town hall meeting held by Del. Keith Hodges (R-Middlesex), standing, last week were, from left, James C. Diggs, James Peters, Robert L. Marble, Ben C. Garrett and Shannon C. Fedors. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Del. Keith Hodges (R-Middlesex) held a town hall meeting last Wednesday at the Gloucester Library in Main Street Center to update residents on issues currently before the Virginia General Assembly.

He said the primary issues concerning him at the moment are transportation, health care and education.

Transportation

Transportation is the major problem in Virginia, said Hodges, even though it doesn’t have as noticeable an impact in rural counties as it does in the state’s more urban areas. All the state’s road construction money has been going toward maintenance, he said, so that there will be no money left for new construction in five years.

Virginia ranks third in the nation in terms of road miles, said Hodges, with the responsibility for 12,000 miles of interstate roads and 48,000 miles of secondary roads. Paying for maintenance and solving the problem of new construction are crucial for the state’s economy, since cargo needs to be moved from the port system to various locations, he said.

"Unless we can get goods from point A to point B," Hodges said, "jobs suffer."

Seventy-one percent of the workforce in the 98th district, which is composed of Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, Essex, and parts of King and Queen, and King William counties, drives outside the district to work, said Hodges. Because people in rural areas drive longer distances, he said, they don’t get back as much of the benefit from gas taxes as do people in more urban areas.