Thursday, February 21, 2008

(Belated) Transit Day: The Charge of the Very Light Brigade

I promised I would blog on today's trip to Richmond. A group associated with Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) went to Richmond today to lobby for mass transit funding. I was up at 4:30 A.M., put on a tie (I avoid wearing them), and my "FUND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION NOW!" button.

Originally 10 were supposed to go from Hampton Roads. When I got to HRT's Norfolk office this morning, I learned only 3 of us were going up. HRT's Tamara Poulson (the new UCAC Staffer) and I left from Norfolk, picking up UCAC Chair Julian Scott (from Newport News) in Hampton. As we rolled up I-64, I learned the official Transit Day had been three days earlier. Three days earlier? Someone at HRT got the idea that, given the content, we need not go up on the official day. So three of us were going to banzai charge the General Assembly? How did I volunteer for this suicide squad?

We arrived in Richmond on schedule, only to be delayed finding a parking space. We finally parked next to St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church. First on the agenda was taking a tour of the renovated Capitol building. Some very good work done. Somewhere along the line Julian got seperated.

Afterwards we found that Julian had gone down to the cafe and started lunch without us. We ate in turn.

Finally, the big thing we went up for: lobbying the General Assembly. We started high and worked our way down floors, hitting the office of every Hampton Roads member of the General Assembly member. In addition, I went for the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee. The highlight was a good chat we had with the Legislative Aide for Yvonne Miller, the Senate Transportation Chair from Norfolk. While we might not get anything this year, we laid the groundwork for future help.

Others I ran into in Richmond: Phil Kellam (Virginia Beach's Commissioner of Revenue), Richard Quinn (Virginian-Pravda reporter), and Bruce Meyer (Republican 2nd Congressional District Chairman).

Once completed, we headed back to the SUV to go home. Julian smoked a cigarette, while I went into St. Peter's to give thanks for the good day and pray for a safe journey home.

Tamara promised we'd go up on the official day next year. I told her we needed to go before Crossover Day, the earlier we got involved the better.

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