The area of Hampton Roads is a place filled with a number of attraction and historical sites. The harbor located in this area has been the most important thing that contributes to the growth of the area, in terms of both water-related events and activities. The harbor (and the tributaries originating from it) may be an important conduit for transportation but it also poses a challenge on both travel and commerce that are more land-based. Due to this fact, constructing and managing infrastructure capable enough of supporting transportation is an obstacle to overcome in the area for a long time.
One of the biggest efforts to counter problems caused by the harbor is the HRBT (Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel) and the MMMBT (Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge). In the Hampton Roads Beltway interstate, the two are the largest harbor crossings. The two bridges serve as connectors of Hampton Roads’ large population centers. The HRTA (Hampton Roads Transportation Authority) was established in 2007. This organization sought to help improve transportation in the area. It was, however, founded under a controversial state law. The law in question was intended to establish a variety of more taxes, tolls, and fees in order to generate funding for major transportation projects in the region. Included in the plan was the third bridge of Hampton Roads that was too costly.
Cities located in the Hampton Roads region are not counted as being in counties. They exist independently of one another. The Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) of Hampton Roads consists of 5 counties and 9 cities in Virginia and 2 counties in North Carolina. A census held by in 2010 showed that the entire area has a population number of 1,676,822. The number is expected to rise in 2014 to 1,716,624. The Hampton Roads is one of the areas in the US with the largest population.