The Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR) met this afternoon at Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) headquarters in Hampton.
Much discussion was held on probable Federal mass transit stimulus funding. HRT is projected to get in the neighborhood of $24 million and CEO Michael Townes assured the Commission that the conditions for keeping the funding could easily be met.
Proposed budget cuts by the Commonwealth of Virginia would mean a reduction of $1.4 million in funding this fiscal year, and $1.2 million next year. However, lower fuel costs mean that HRT can probably absorb this year's reductions without having to cut service.
The contract to study light rail for Virginia Beach is slated to be awarded at the March TDCHR meeting, and the study will take 18 months to complete. That means that even if City Council wanted to place the matter on the ballot, the facts would not be ready for a referendum any earlier than November, 2011. Randy Wright of Norfolk repeatedly expressed his unhappiness with the Virginia Beach City Council leaning towards punting the issue to referendum.
A couple changes were made with Norfolk light rail construction. First, 240 sunken piles in Broad Creek will have to be removed. Second, the Downtown Norfolk Council will do the signage to alleviate business disruptions at a cost of $50,000, while the original bid for the task was $165,000.
The humorous moment of the day: Commissioners were given the ridership figures for November. HRT's User Citizen Advisory Committee (UCAC), meeting in the same room the night before, had been given the December numbers. So the UCAC was given more current information than the TDCHR?!?