VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Mayors from the Southside region of Hampton Roads gathered at Regent University Monday to talk about the sequester and tolls.
The five mayors spoke at Regent University's Executive Leadership Series.
"Sequestration is frustration, period," Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms said.
The sequester refers to automatic budget cuts to defense and government agencies amounting to more than a trillion dollars over the next 10 years.
Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim told WAVY.com he is holding out hope.
"Moving through Congress this week is a continuing resolution that will get the federal government through the end of September when they're due to pass another budget," Fraim said. "The continuing resolution has some flexibility in it for military appropriations and for the moving around of money. That's good."
Fraim pointed out that six percent of Norfolk's residents are in the military, 40 percent are employed with businesses that support the military and some 728 defense contractors are located in Norfolk.
"It's challenging for all of us but we're going to get through it and we're going to do just fine," Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson said.
On the other hand, Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright addressed the tolls drivers will face come January 2014 using the Downtown and Midtown tunnels.
"We're deeply concerned about the tolls and I'm upset with the other mayors for not speaking out against the terms of this contract," Wright said.
Fraim admitted the Midtown tunnel between Portsmouth and Norfolk is one of the most heavily traveled this side of the Mississippi River.
"We need our economy and our people to move back and forth through the region. It's a major bottleneck and we have to have another tube," Fraim said.
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