Here's The Virginian-Pravda's take on it: http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=138479&ran=145148
Having gone myself (sat in the 2nd row on the center aisle), I have some notes:
1. The only specific talk of expansion into Virginia Beach came from Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim - who did it repeatedly.
2. Master of Ceremonies Pete Decker arrogantly stated he didn't have to introduce himself as M.C. since he wouldn't be doing the job unless we all knew who he was. (While I'd obviously heard of him, I'd never met him.)
3. Messina's opening paragraph is spin. The loudest cheer of the day was the only standing ovation, given to Governor Tim Kaine at his introduction. The next two loudest were for Congresspersons Scott and Drake, when it was announced their roles in securing Federal funding.
4. The NET's normal route was extended for the day to bring people down to the Groundbreaking Ceremony site, on the easternmost part of the Harbor Park parking lots. (Yes, I took the NET.)
5. Lunch afterwards: barbecque, Italian sausages, chicken wings, cole slaw, and baked beans. I wish they'd given me more than one spoonful of cole slaw....
6. I spotted three Virginia Beach politicos there: John Welch, Bruce Williams, and Louisa Strayhorn.
7. It was announced that Yvonne Miller has been named Senate Transportation Committee Chair by the Senate Democratic Caucus. Let's hope that means a greater emphasis on transit.
8. During his remarks, Governor Tim Kaine took credit for two provisions in HB 3202:
a. an increase in rail funding of over 60%.
b. an increase in mass transit funding of over 40%.
Even as a Republican, I have to admit Tim Kaine has been the most pro-mass transit Governor in Virginia history.
The humorous part of the affair: the day before the event, HRT e-mailed out to invited guests...ahem...parking passes? Parking passes?!? For a mass transit event? At least I took the bus. :)