The Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR), the governing board of Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), met on Thursday afternoon. In it's most important piece of business, it's participation in the purchase of the Virginia Beach portion of the former Norfolk Southern Right-Of-Way was unanimously approved. All that now remains is for the lawyers to sit down and finish the final papers.
The Commission held a lengthy discussion on financing operations. Measures are going to be taken that will cut HRT's annual interest paid on it's Line of Credit at least in half.
Through two months of FY 2011, HRT is nearly $1.3 million under Budget.
Two other contracts of note were approved. First, signage for light rail stations and new bus stop signs throughout the system was approved. The new bus stop signs will also have on them schedule information for that particular route. Second, a Change Order for electrical systems on Norfolk light rail was approved. While more than the original project estimate, it is "several hundreds of thousands of dollars" less than the figure in HRT's $338 million cost to complete.
The Tide is now 93.2% finished. With the previously mentioned electrical contract (the only major snag on the radar) now taken care of, construction can roll.
Finally, no one came and signed up for the Public Comment period. My fellow bus riders, I know you have issues with the system. However, in about four scheduled Public Comment periods now, no one has shown up to speak out. You have the Commissioners and senior Staff all in one room, so take the opportunity to bring matters to them. The TDCHR schedules at least four such sessions annually, two on each side of the water.