Friday, June 25, 2010

TDCHR June 24, 2010

On Thursday afternoon, the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR), the governing board of Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), held it's June meeting.

Shortly after convening, the TDCHR went to closed session. That left the bulk of us out in the second floor hallway for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, we learned that it had been about the buyout of Michael Townes' retirement package, which was immediately approved.

With a large group there for the leadership election, the hallway was full. As a regular visitor to HRT Headquarters, I knew the most comfortable seat in the house was the small sofa at the top of the stairway. I got it, and was joined by a Staffer.

Speaking of the leadership election, Paul Riddick of Norfolk was elected Chairman and Pat Woodbury of Newport News Vice Chair. Jim Wood was the lone "No" vote. Riddick said "I just plan to follow the script that each Chairman has in the past", and that if the media raised technical or financial questions, he would refer them to HRT Staff.

Current Chairman Jim Wood gave departing remarks. Noteworthy, he stated that he was "extremely confident" that those who stole $80,000 plus would face justice. That's based on conversations he's had wth those involved in the investigation. Wood was given a standing ovation for his service.

An order was placed for ten additional buses from Gillig, one 29 foot hybrid and nine 35 foot diesel buses.

With one month remaining in FY 2010, HRT is $1.477 million under Budget.

The TDCHR passed a Resolution, based on a new state law, that will require new hires after July, 2010 to pay 5% of their Virginia Retirement System (VRS) contributions. With plenty of new hiring needed to staff Norfolk light rail, the fiscal impact is big.

It was reported out that the Paratransit Advisory Committee has taken a position opposing any Handi-Ride fare increases within the ongoing fare review.

Ridership in May was 3.83% over May, 2009. With one month left in FY 2010, ridership overall is up 2.85% for the year.

In other notes:

1. Both WAVY and WVEC covered the meeting and have video on their websites. (You can see me in the background on the WVEC video.)

2. Randy Wright stated that, given Norfolk City Council's procedure, it would probably be August before his replacement is chosen. Wright was given the other standing ovation of the day.

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