Thursday, January 24, 2008

TDCHR January 24, 2008

This afternoon the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR), the governing board of Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), held it's regular monthly meeting. Two big issues came up:

1. In drafting a HRT Budget for FY 2009, both Virginia Beach and Newport News have initially requested cuts in service. Newport News and HRT are about $300,000 apart.

Virginia Beach and HRT have a $1.2 million difference. The gap becomes larger when you realize Virginia Beach needs a 20% increase in year-round service before the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will even discuss light rail with it. HRT has a draft plan that would meet the FTA criteria. $1.2 million in cuts would mean eliminating entire routes and/or weekend service.

Under FTA regulations, cuts in neither city can be made without Public Hearings.

In addition, Virginia in 2007 made available an additional $60 million/year for mass transit. With that money contingent on maintaining service, HRT could become ineligible with cuts.

2. Commissioner Paul Riddick reported a proposal out of committee for the TDCHR's a luxury hotel a five hour drive away.

Commissioner Jim Wood immediately protested. Wood noted that the transit-dependent would be unable to come to such an event, and that a location in the region should be found. In addition, Wood requested a roll call vote on the Retreat with all Commissioners present.

Me? I agree that a location should be found locally. Furthermore:

a. Even if observers could get hotel rooms at the TDCHR rate of $169/night, two nights room and tax would be about the price of seven 30 Day Passes ($50 each).

b. With HRT crying poor over funding for service, it sends entirely the wrong signal to be holed away in a luxury hotel not even in the same area code.

In closing, wishes for a speedy recovery to the wife of Commissioner Randy Wright, who is in the hospital.


Michael Ragsdale said...

The TDCHR Retreat: A wonderful spot, and it won't cost a penny. I offer one of two choices:

3400 Victoria Blvd, Hampton
1500 Monticello Ave, Norfolk

No fancy-pants hotel, and buses go by them. Route 103 for Hampton and Routes 1, 3, 4*, 20*, and 23* for Norfolk.

* A few blocks away, but not far at all

Avenging Archangel said...

There are a number of choices:

1. The convention centers in Virginia Beach and Hampton

2. ODU or Norfolk State

3. One of the TCC campuses

Michael Ragsdale said...

Not bad, not bad. Now to figure out when (timewise) the retreats would be so I can get back home before the buses cut at 6:45 PM (yes, this excludes Sundays).