Privatizing the Virginia Port Authority would be a mistake, said J. Robert “Bobby” Bray, who oversaw Hampton Roads’ growth into a major container port during 29 years as VPA executive director.
Bray, who retired in 2007, was among speakers Monday night at a public hearing on the proposed privatization, the Virginian-Pilot reported. No members of the public spoke in favor of privatization.
“We are in a position now to do things that I worked for 40 years to put in place,” Bray said. “There’s no reason to do other than what we’re doing. We’ve done a good job here.”
The state is considering proposals by APM Terminals and a group led by JP Morgan Chase. Both groups have offered billions of dollars for decades-long operating concessions.
Privatization has encountered opposition from Virginia lawmakers. Language in budget legislation approved by House and Senate committees would prevent the state from selling or leasing the port before completion of a comprehensive study of the port’s operations.