The Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR), the governing body of Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), held a special meeting this afternoon in Hampton for the rollout of the final Norfolk Tide construction cost and an explanation of the figures.
New HRT CEO Phil Shucet gave everyone the number he had promised: Norfolk Tide construction will come in at no more than $338,284.251. While a significant increase over the original cost figure, the line would still be only $45.7 million per mile, the cheapest of any light rail line in the country in the past 12 years. While $13 million of that figure is for contingencies ($10 million unallocated; $3 million allocated), Shucet warned Commissioners not to use a $325 million figure, as such a result would require everything to go perfectly the rest of the way. In addition, Shucet stated he could find no analytical basis for the $288 million revised figure from 2008.
Almost as interesting was that fact that "one employee" (never identified) had done an in-house cost analysis during August & September of 2009. Completed in October, the in-house report put the Starter Line's cost at $324.7 million. Randy Wright was incensed that no one from the City of Norfolk had seen the in-house report before; in fact, Wright didn't see it until just before today's special meeting.
Moving towards completion of the Starter Line, contracts have been renegotiated to cut costs by $14.5 million. In addition, soft costs for the remaining 38% of construction are down to 9.75%.
Television crews arrived early from WVEC, WAVY, and WHRO. Also, a fourth crew (who I couldn't identify) arrived after the meeting had begun.
The TDCHR's regular February meeting will be next Thursday (the 25th), once again at 1:30 in Hampton. (HRT's website has read Norfolk for next week.)