After taking office on January 5, new Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms did an interview with The Virginian-Pravda's Deirdre Fernandes. With a video camera rolling, he pledged to have the negotiations on the Norfolk Southern Right-of-Way acquisition done within two weeks. Fernandes chuckled...as most of us did. After all, there had been on-and-off talks with Norfolk Southern for over three years. How did Sessoms think he'd get it done in two weeks?!? He did, with time to spare http://hamptonroads.com/2009/01/virginia-beach-buy-rightofway-likely-lightrail-route
Okay, what now?
1. Obviously, complete the right-of-way acquisition
2. Do Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEIS) on Newtown Road - Dome site and EVMS - Norfolk NOB alignments.
3. Boost Virginia Beach's year-round bus routes to get to Federal Transit Administration (FTA) standards for light rail funding. Hopefully that can be done in the City's FY 2010 Budget.
I learned about this around 6:50 P.M. When HR Transit Ideas' Michael Ragsdale called me about twenty-five minutes later, I answered by yelling into my cell phone "We got the right-of-way!" (He hadn't heard.)
Mister Mayor, I owe you a beer.