Hipple named chairman of Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission

James City County supervisor Michael Hipple was named chairman of the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission during a Thursday meeting. 

Hipple will take over for Virginia Beach mayor William D. Sessoms Jr., who reached the end of his two-year term. Hipple's term will be effective immediately. Hipple previously served as vice-chairman.

The Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC), which is comprised of elected officials throughout the region, determines how roughly $200 million annually will be invested in transportation projects.

"This appointment means a lot to me, James City County and the region as a whole," Hipple said. "We're pushing projects as hard as we can push. There's a lot of things we can do as far as transportation, and as far as the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, we want to have that completed by 2024. That's the biggest project in Virginia alone."

Hampton Roads planners have prioritized spending close to $4 billion to expand the HRBT. The plan to add lanes to the HRBT was approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in December after years of back-and-forth over the best way to add water crossing capacity in Hampton Roads. Whether the project will be completely funded, and whether construction can begin in 2019, is still being debated on the state level. 

Hipple said it will take a regional effort to accomplish the transportation goals of the area.

As chairman, Hipple is responsible for running the meetings, signing the checks, serving as a liaison for the board and working with the governor and VDOT. 

"My job is basically to lay out a plan for finance for transportation and map out how we're going to get there," Hipple said. "It's a lot of responsibility but I'm more than happy to take it on."

Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.

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