2nd Quarter 2007
June 21, 2007 - Knoxville News Sentinel
Norfolk Southern plans terminal in East Tennessee
By Roger Harris
Norfolk Southerns plan for an East Tennessee intermodal railroad terminal would be a major economic boost for the region — creating jobs, stimulating growth of existing businesses and attracting new companies, area economic development officials say.
It would be a great thing for this region, said Doug Lawyer, director of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. Absolutely, it would make us more competitive in recruitment.
Lawyer spoke with a Norfolk Southern official earlier this week about the project.
They are still early in the process. Theyre looking for a pretty big chunk of land — 200 to 300 acres, Lawyer said.
Thom Robinson, president and CEO of the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce, said he plans to contact Norfolk Southern soon to pitch the virtues of building the terminal in or near his city.
Certainly, if we can locate a site that meets their requirements, we would be most interested in having that terminal here, Robinson said.
Upper East Tennessee should be part of the conversation, too, said Gary Mabrey, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Johnson City, Jonesborough and Washington County.
With the interstate connections and distribution points we have, its something we would like to know more about, Mabrey said.
An intermodal terminal is a site where cargo containers are transferred between trains and trucks.
Businesses located within driving distance of an intermodal terminal would have access to new markets and be able to ship freight more efficiently, the economic development officials said.
Norfolk Southern plans to build two new intermodal facilities — the other would be in Maryland — as part of a $2 billion upgrade of its freight network running from Louisiana to New Jersey. The project is called the Crescent Corridor.
The railroad plans to start work on the corridor in 2008 and finish by 2013. The corridor includes about 1,400 miles of rail crossing parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
We anticipate intermodal traffic will continue to build and we need to make sure our infrastructure has the capacity to handle the growth, said Robin Chapman, manager of public relations for the Norfolk, Va.-based company.
Chapman said its too soon to know where a new East Tennessee terminal would be built or what it might cost.
Chapman declined to publicly discuss specific criteria for choosing a site, but he said the terminal would be located on an existing rail line where you can get in one end and out the other without turning trains around. And, it would have to be relatively near a major truck route.
All of East Tennessee is within easy reach of a main Norfolk Southern rail line running from Chattanooga to Bristol and close to major truck routes, primarily Interstates 40, 75 and 81.
Knoxville sits at the crossroad of I-40 and I-75 and about 20 miles west of the junction of I-40 and I-81.
Norfolk Southern currently operates the John Sevier Yard, a large multitrack facility in East Knox County, but Lawyer said hes not sure it would be suitable for an intermodal terminal.
It appears pretty well tapped out, Lawyer said.
In the late 1990s, Norfolk Southern considered building an intermodal terminal at the Coster Shop property just north of downtown Knoxville.
However, the railroad scrapped those plans and sold much of what was a railroad repair yard to the city of Knoxville. The city subsequently sold about 40 acres to Sysco Corp., the largest food service marketer and distributor in North America.
Norfolk Southern still owns about 32 acres of the old Coster Shop site.
In addition to finding land for new terminals in Tennessee and Maryland, Norfolk Southern must finance the entire corridor improvement project.
The railroad will put up part of the money — exactly how much company officials havent said — and it wants a public investment, too.
The public interest in this is substantial, Chapman said.
Upgrading its freight lines from Louisiana to New Jersey would reduce highway congestion, reduce the cost of maintaining highways and reduce greenhouse emissions, Chapman said.
We anticipate the entire project taking at least a million trucks off the highways annually throughout the system, Chapman said.
Virginia has promised $40 million for the Crescent Corridor project, according to an Associated Press report.
Tennessee Department of Transportation and Norfolk Southern officials have discussed the corridor project, but no state funds have been committed, said TDOT spokesman Travis Brickey.
The focus of the discussions to date have been on improving grade crossings to handle increased train traffic generated by the corridor project, Brickey said. |||
June 18, 2007 - Associated Press
AMSTERDAM (AP) - The Netherlands opened a new freight rail line Saturday linking Rotterdam, Europe's largest port, with Germany, concluding a 10-year project plagued by cost overruns and criticism from environmentalists.
Queen Beatrix and EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot attended the opening of the 160- kilometre line to Emmerich, capable of handling 240 trains daily in each direction.
The environmentalist group GroenFront, branding the line an act of megalomania, repeatedly tried to block promotional trains on trial runs, Dutch national Television NOS reported.
''It is a pointless, nature-destroying prestige project,'' GroenFront said in a statement Saturday.
News reports said the final bill came in at EUR 4.7 billion, about EUR 1 billion above its 1996 budget. |||
June 16, 2007 - Associated Press
Road Leads to Alaska Congressman
By PHIL DAVIS (Associated Press Writer)
ESTERO, Fla. - An unexpected $10 million congressional earmark might seem like money from heaven for a fast-growing county needing billions for transportation improvements. Not when it comes to Coconut Road.
No local officials sought the earmark, which calls for a study on connecting Coconut Road to Interstate 75 in southwest Florida's Lee County. The congressman who represents the area says he didn't ask for it, either. But U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, sent the money anyway, making it clear it could only be used on Coconut Road.
"It just came out of the sky," Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah said.
The reason emerged last week: Published reports disclosed that a Michigan builder who threw a fundraiser for Young in Florida two years ago owns undeveloped land that would become a lot more valuable if Coconut Road were extended and connected to the interstate.
Judah and other members of the county's Metropolitan Planning Organization voted Friday to proceed with the study, even though the source of its funding has raised eyebrows nationwide.
The organization, which comprises 15 local elected officials, had considered connecting Coconut Road to I-75 in long-term plans, but twice pulled it - even after Young's appropriation. Young rebuked the group when members suggested applying the money to more pressing projects.
Young's response, in effect: Use the $10 million for Coconut Road or lose it.
U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, R-Fla., followed up with a January 2006 letter warning county officials of sending Congress an "unintended message ... that our region is willing to reject scarce federal resources." Mack also said rejection might keep the county from getting federal money for other projects.
Mack invited Young to southwest Florida to discuss transportation issues with local leaders in February 2005, a meeting that helped secure $81 million in federal support for crucial I-75 widening projects in the growing region. Reporters at the Naples Daily News and News-Press of Fort Myers soon discovered the unusual Coconut Road earmark.
Last week, The New York Times connected Young's appropriation to Daniel J. Aronoff of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., whose companies own thousands of acres that would increase in value if a Coconut Road connector were built. During the 2005 visit, Aronoff hosted a fundraiser that brought in $40,000 to the congressman's campaign.
Aronoff did not return telephone messages left at his Michigan offices.
Joe Mazurkiewicz, who served on the county's transportation planning board when he was mayor of Cape Coral, said discussion at the fundraiser focused only on I-75 expansion. He said Young's earmark was a surprise, though he noted that the study was needed because development already under way increases the need for interstate access in the area.
"Why would we not use the money when we have it now?" Mazurkiewicz asked.
Young, who gained national attention for securing $200 million for a bridge project linking an Alaska island community to its airport, the so-called Bridge to Nowhere, lost his influential post as chairman of the House Transportation Committee when Democrats took control of Congress in January.
His spokeswoman responded to an interview request by faxing several articles and editorials supporting the Coconut interchange. She declined further comment.
With Friday's vote, the Metropolitan Planning Organization agreed to expand the scope of the study, an action seen as a compromise that would allow Lee County to keep the $10 million but have more control over where an interchange might go if the study determines it is needed.
Before the vote, director Don Scott had said a two-year $800,000 interchange justification study would begin next month unless the board decided to abandon the interchange idea.
Connecting Coconut Road to I-75 could cost as much as $40 million and remains a low priority compared to the interstate widening project, Scott said. He said connecting Coconut Road east of I-75, where Aronoff's property is located, would face a series of regulatory hurdles, including concerns about sensitive wetlands in the path of the road. A recent study found the wetlands are a vital part of the region's water supply.
"It's possible, but I don't know if it's probable," Scott said of the interchange.
But Judah said Aronoff could use the interchange to justify zoning changes or even move to get the land annexed into nearby Bonita Springs with different development rules. Current zoning rules allow only one house per 10 acres on the land.
"I want to see those environmentally sensitive lands protected,"
Judah said. ||||
June 7, 2007 – The Virginian-Pilot
Southern proposes $2 billion-plus rail corridor
By GREGORY RICHARDS (757) firstname.lastname@example.org)
Norfolk Southern Corp. is proposing a $2 billion-plus rail corridor stretching from Louisiana to New Jersey to capture more cargo being moved by trucks on highways.
The project, called the I-81 Crescent Corridor, would speed cargo shipments while reducing congestion on such highways as Interstate 81 in western Virginia, the Norfolk-based railroad said. The plan involves upgrading and expanding existing rail lines to accommodate more, faster trains; purchasing new locomotives and railcars; and building new terminals in Maryland and Tennessee and improving others.
It is far more ambitious than the roughly $253 million Heartland Corridor that Norfolk Southern is building to shave a day's transit time off cargo shipments between the port of Hampton Roads and the Midwest.
"This is exciting, this is a big deal," said Michael R. McClellan, vice president of automotive and intermodal marketing for Norfolk Southern, the nation's fourth-largest railroad.
The company announced the plan Wednesday at an analyst conference in New York.
As with the Heartland Corridor, Norfolk Southern says public dollars are necessary for the Crescent Corridor. The federal government and several states are bankrolling $163 million of the Heartland Corridor's cost, including $22 million from Virginia.
"NS is fully prepared to invest, invest a lot of money in fact, up to a point where we earn reasonable rates of return on the projects," McClellan said. "But there will be a gap between that number and what the entire project costs. We're looking for the public to recognize the benefits associated with this project... and contribute accordingly."
The Crescent Corridor's public benefits include improved roadway safety and air quality, stemming from the projected reduction of trucks on highways, he said. One million truckloads of freight may be taken off highways every year by the project, he said.
Norfolk Southern hasn't decided how much it will ask various governments to contribute, McClellan said. But, he said, Virginia has agreed to pay $40 million.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board, which sets Virginia's transportation policies, will meet June 21 to formally consider the $40 million as part of its six-year transportation plan, said Jennifer Pickett, a spokeswoman for the state's Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
The state's contribution comes out of $65 million approved by the General Assembly in April to upgrade rail corridors along Interstates 95 and 81 to reduce congestion, she said. For years, Norfolk Southern and the state have been examining ways to improve its rail line that parallels I-81.
If the project's financing all comes together, construction would begin next year.
McClellan would not discuss what work it would entail in Virginia, saying the railroad first wanted to have detailed discussions with public bodies. The plan involves two parallel north-south routes through Virginia, extending between Roanoke and Front Royal and between Lynchburg and Manassas.
The Crescent Corridor came about as Norfolk Southern was looking for ways to expand its intermodal business - the movement of truck trailers and international shipping containers - beyond such routes as its core "Golden Triangle" between Atlanta, Chicago and Harrisburg, Pa., McClellan said. The rail routes encompassed by the Crescent Corridor have little or no intermodal competition while highway congestion on interstates near the rail lines is "increasingly severe," he said.
The projects may even be supported by such large national trucking companies as J.B. Hunt Transport Inc. Hunt and several other big truck operators provided "unprecedented" levels of help to Norfolk Southern as it formulated its corridor plan, McClellan said.
A Hunt spokeswoman did not return calls for comment Wednesday. McClellen would not name the other companies.
Trucking companies use railroads to move freight for portions of long hauls where it makes sense, said Clayton Boyce, an American Trucking Association s spokesman.
However, Boyce questioned the use of public dollars to improve privately owned rail lines, rather than investing in highways.
"One should not automatically assume that freight rail investments would produce more positive results than the highway investment alternative," he said. |||
June 7, 2007 – The New York Times
Funds for Alaskan; Road Aid to Florida
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
WASHINGTON, June 6 — It is no secret that campaign contributions sometimes lead to lucrative official favors. Rarely, though, are the tradeoffs quite as obvious as in the twisted case of Coconut Road.
The road, a stretch of pavement near Fort Myers, Fla., that touches five golf clubs on its way to the Gulf of Mexico, is the target of a $10 million earmark that appeared mysteriously in a 2006 transportation bill written by Representative Don Young, Republican of Alaska.
Mr. Young, who last year steered more than $200 million to a so-called bridge to nowhere reaching 80 people on Gravina Island, Alaska, has no constituents in Florida.
The Republican congressman whose district does include Coconut Road says he did not seek the money. County authorities have twice voted not to use it, until Mr. Young and the district congressman wrote letters warning that a refusal could jeopardize future federal money for the county.
The Coconut Road money is a boon, however, to Daniel J. Aronoff, a real estate developer who helped raise $40,000 for Mr. Young at the nearby Hyatt Coconut Point hotel days before he introduced the measure.
Mr. Aronoff owns as much as 4,000 acres along Coconut Road. The $10 million in federal money would pay for the first steps to connect the road to Interstate 75, multiplying the value of Mr. Aronoff’s land.
He did not return phone calls seeking comment. A consultant who helped push for the project spelled out why its supporters held the fund-raiser.
“We were looking for a lot of money,” said the consultant, Joe Mazurkiewicz. “We evidently made a very good impression on Congressman Young, and thanks to a lot of great work from Congressman Young, we got $81 million to expand Interstate 75 and $10 million for the Coconut Road interchange.”
Mr. Young’s role, first reported by The Naples Daily News, has escalated objections to the project. Environmentalists say the interchange would threaten wetlands. And a Republican commissioner of Lee County, Ray Judah, is campaigning against the interchange, calling it an example of Congressional corruption that is “a cancer on the federal government.”
“It would appear that Don Young was doing a favor for a major contributor,” Mr. Judah said.
The turmoil occurs at an awkward time for Mr. Young. A corruption scandal involving an Alaskan oil company has rattled the Republican Party in Alaska, and Mr. Young is among the biggest recipients of the company’s campaign donations.
One of his former top aides, Mark Zachares, has pleaded guilty to separate bribery charges involving the lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
House Republicans, meanwhile, are in a public relations battle with Democrats for the high ground on reforming “earmarks,” the pet projects that lawmakers tuck into spending bills behind closed doors.
As they have exploded in number for the last 12 years — the 2006 transportation bill included more than 6,300 projects worth more than $24 billion, the nonpartisan Taxpayers For Common Sense says — earmarks have proven ripe for cronyism, corruption and abuse. Though the House recently passed a rule requiring the disclosure of earmark sponsors, the flow does not appear to have slowed.
Until Democrats took control of Congress in January, Mr. Young was chairman of the Transportation Committee, and he and his staff distributed transportation earmarks to lawmakers seeking projects. Mr. Young may have first learned of Coconut Road on Feb. 17, 2005. That is when he flew to the region on a plane owned by Corporate Flight, a Waterford, Mich., charter company that is associated with the Aronoff family, which is based in nearby Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The Aronoffs are among the company’s biggest clients, said its general manager, Tom Hector.
Mr. Young’s re-election campaign reimbursed the company $3,422 for the flight, his campaign filings show.
At the invitation of the congressman from the district, Connie Mack, Mr. Young visited Florida Gulf Coast University for a meeting on the Interstate and other transportation questions. Afterward, Mr. Young went directly to the fund-raiser at the Hyatt Coconut Point.
His campaign records show that he received more than $40,000 in contributions on one day around that time, mostly from southwestern Florida developers and builders. Mr. Aronoff gave $500 to Mr. Young’s campaign and later gave $2,500 to Mr. Young’s Midnight Sun political action committee.
The invitations to the event listed as hosts Mr. Mack, a business group called the Southwest Florida Transportation Initiative that includes Mr. Aronoff’s company and two executives of other Florida developers.
Asked in a telephone interview who had organized the fund-raiser, Mr. Mazurkiewicz, the consultant, said he was then at another fund-raiser with a member of Mr. Mack’s staff who would know.
“Aronoff,” the staff member told Mr. Mazurkiewicz, within earshot of his mobile phone.
“Just some local businessmen,” Mr. Mazurkiewicz said into the phone. When pressed, he confirmed that the staff member had named Mr. Aronoff. Later, Mr. Mazurkiewicz called again to list the names on the invitation.
The Aronoffs, major Republican donors, gave more than $200,000 to Republican candidates and political committees in the 2006 election. Their business, the Landon Companies, is best known for building mobile-home parks. But it also operates a real estate development business in Florida.
Daniel Aronoff has taken over active management of the company from his father, Arnold Y. Aronoff, who had a checkered career in Florida real estate.
In 1979, Arnold Aronoff was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to sell Florida swampland at an inflated price.
When he was approached near the House floor by a reporter, Mr. Young responded with an obscene gesture.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Young, Meredith Kenny, initially said that Mr. Mack had requested the Coconut Road money. A spokesman for Mr. Mack, however, said he did not ask for the money. His chief of staff, Jeff Cohen, said Mr. Mack was surprised to find the project in the bill long after it had passed. “At the end of the day this thing got stuck in there unbeknownst to us and having nothing to do with us, other than it is our district,” Mr. Cohen said.
The plans for the earmark and the Aronoff land hit a roadblock when the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization voted twice last year to block a preliminary study for the interchange, mainly on environmental grounds. Studies by the Army Corps of Engineers , the Environmental Protection Agency , the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Federal Highway Administration have all warned that the proposed interchange could threaten wetlands.
But Mr. Young was evidently determined to see the interchange move forward. In a Jan. 23, 2006, letter to the chairman of the planning agency, Mr. Young warned that his committee would draft another bill taking away the $10 million if it was not used for the interchange.
On Jan. 31, Mr. Mack followed up with a letter warning that the rejection would “make it difficult for Southwest Florida to have future success in securing federal resources for other important projects.”
The planning organization subsequently reversed itself and approved an initial study of the proposed interchange. But the last election put more environmentalists on the county commission. Next month, county planners will again take up the question of what to do about Coconut Road. |||
June 7, 2007 - Bristol Herald Courier editorial
Corridor holds promise
On the surface, the Norfolk Southern Corp. proposal to create a vastly improved rail corridor from Louisiana to New Jersey seems like a wonderful idea.
What’s not to like about a plan with the potential to divert as many as a million tractor-trailers from Interstate 81 each year? Certainly, the plan is more palatable than the odious, and now abandoned, proposal to expand the interstate to eight lanes from Bristol to Winchester.
However, there are questions that must be answered before state governments (including those in Virginia and Tennessee) and the federal government commit substantial resources to this public-private partnership. Norfolk Southern estimates the project will cost more than $2 billion, and is expected to seek public funding for two-thirds of that amount – as it has for the Heartland Corridor from Norfolk to the Midwest. For such an investment to make sense, the railroad must offer proof that the project will take the pressure off Interstate 81.
So far, the details of the Crescent Corridor project, as it’s called, are a bit hazy. The high-speed rail corridor is said to roughly follow the path of I-81 along with parts of four other interstates. A specific route hasn’t been announced; nor have detailed lists of improvements been shared with the public.
Similarly, the estimates of the number of trucks removed from the highway aren’t quite concrete. Norfolk Southern officials believe there are as many as 1 million trucks a year that could be diverted from road to rail if the improvements are made. That figure appears to represent truck diversion for the length of the corridor rather than in Virginia alone, where state estimates have been much lower in years past.
How many trucks will be taken off Virginia’s roads as a result of the improvements? This is the key question, particularly since the state has already committed $40 million in "seed money" to the project.
Truck traffic – much of it traveling through the state to points north – is the cause of most of the hand wringing about the condition of Interstate 81 in Virginia. State studies indicate the interstate is carrying almost 5 million trucks a year. Worse from a safety perspective, trucks now account for 40 percent of the traffic on the highway, which was designed to carry about 15 percent truck traffic.
Both the number of trucks and the percentage of trucks on the road will only increase – a result of an economy that increasingly depends on just-in-time deliveries to keep humming along. As the truck numbers climb, so will the frustration and fear that regular motorists feel as they jockey for position among the big rigs.
Virginia is preparing to make targeted improvements to I-81. These include truck-climbing lanes and extra lanes in some areas. The project is much smaller than the massive building project planned a few years ago.
Combining these improvements with the rail project might be the best solution for the state, but more information is needed.
Norfolk Southern must make the case for public investment by getting specific. That these discussions must take place in public is equally obvious.
For Norfolk Southern, this is a business decision, driven by profits. For the states, the goal is different. Virginia and its counterparts along the corridor must invest their money in the project or projects that will bring the most bang for the buck: reducing congestion, decreasing the number and percentage of trucks on the interstate, reducing environmentally damaging emissions and improving safety for motorists.
The Crescent Corridor is promising, but the states must demand more information before making an investment decision. |||
June 7, 2007 - Roanoke Times
Southern to improve area track
Virginia has committed $40 million toward the railroad's corridor plan.
NORFOLK -- Track improvements in Southwest Virginia are a major component of a $2 billion-plus rail corridor announced Wednesday by Norfolk Southern Corp., stretching from Louisiana to New Jersey, that the freight railroad said would speed cargo shipments and reduce highway congestion by diverting truck traffic.
The Crescent Corridor project involves expanding and improving Norfolk Southern's rail network from the Northeast to the Southeast.
Virginia has committed $40 million in seed money for the Crescent Corridor project, which would run along Interstate 81, said Mike McClellan, Norfolk Southern's vice president of intermodal and automotive marketing. The Norfolk-based railroad is seeking additional public money.
"We're not talking about new track here. We're talking about upgrading existing track to add capacity," NS spokesman Robin Chapman said. The line that runs from Bristol to Roanoke is among those that the company is looking at, he said.
Other major focus points for upgrade work will be Memphis, Tenn., to Bristol and Manassas, Va., through northern New Jersey, Chapman said. Lesser-scale improvements will happen elsewhere, resulting in what the railroad sees as a significant chance to lessen highway congestion.
"We believe there are 1 million divertible truckloads in this corridor a year," Chapman said.
Public bodies should want to invest because the project will have public benefits, such as reducing highway congestion and vehicle emissions and creating economic development opportunities, McClellan said.
"We're talking about developing an entire corridor to help relieve pressure on the interstate system," he said.
The railroad also is prepared to "invest a lot in this corridor ... up to an amount that provides us an acceptable return on our investment," McClellan said. He declined to give a dollar figure.
McClellan announced the corridor during a presentation to analysts during a conference in New York.
The corridor would include about 1,400 rail miles from New Orleans to Newark, N.J., plus investments on parallel routes, McClellan said.
If financing works out, construction would begin in 2008. The first phase would be completed by 2009, with the entire project being finished by 2013.
Staff writer Jeff Sturgeon contributed to this report. |||
June 7, 2007 - Roanoke Times
likely challenge to Fralin
Gary Bowman is running for a seat in the House of Delegates, this time as a Democrat.
By Mason Adams (540) 981-3253
A former Republican Committee chairman has re-emerged as the likely Democratic Party nominee to challenge incumbent Del. William Fralin this fall for his seat in the state legislature.
Roanoke lawyer Gary Bowman ran as an independent in a three-way race for the then-open 17th District seat in 2003, but received only 6 percent of the vote in finishing third to Republican Fralin, who won with 62 percent, and Democrat Linda Wyatt.
This year, however, Bowman will be running as a Democrat.Bowman, 47, said he will focus his campaign largely on transportation and health care."I don't think the governor will be able to do the things the people elected him to do unless he gets more support from the House of Delegates," Bowman said.
He named Interstate 81 as a major transportation problem facing the Roanoke Valley."The concern that I have is the state is about to embark on this effort to widen 81 when a more appropriate solution would be to transfer the real problem, which is this through-truck traffic on 81, to rail," Bowman said.
But "that solution is not going to be implemented simply because of political gridlock."Bowman served as chairman of the Roanoke Republican Committee in the early 1990s, but said he became disillusioned with the party's direction.
"When I was a Republican, I considered myself to be a progressive and believed that government ought to promote individual initiative and fill gaps, which the market was unable to fill," Bowman said. "I think the Republicans at this point, in the state legislature and particularly in the House of Delegates, are just agents of no change and represent gridlock."Roanoke Democratic Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Word said she wasn't concerned about Bowman's Republican background, noting that U.S. Sen. Jim Webb was once a Republican, too.
Fralin defended his party, pointing to transportation legislation that the Republican majority brokered earlier this year and that Gov. Tim Kaine eventually signed, with some changes."I think we've done some good things for the Roanoke Valley," Fralin said. "But a challenge is part of the process and I'll use the opportunity to make folks aware of a record I'm pretty proud of."Fralin was re-elected without organized opposition in 2005.
Bowman was born in Richmond but grew up in Roanoke. He earned his bachelor's degree in history from Virginia Military Institute and graduate degrees from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Virginia. He's a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and just returned from an assignment in Kuwait. |||